EPA Budget Cuts Could Imperil ... Beachgoers?

It plans to kill $10M in grants used to test tainted water
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2012 10:59 AM CST
EPA Budget Cuts Could Imperil ... Beachgoers?
Signs warn the public to stay out of the water in an area harboring high bacteria levels near a drain at Will Rogers State Beach on August 7, 2007 in Pacific Palisades, northwest of Los Angeles.   (Getty Images)

Swimmers, beware: You may want to stick with sand, not surf, this summer. The EPA is feeling the financial squeeze, and this week submitted a budget request that eliminates $10 million in grants that are used to test for polluted water and post warning signs. The EPA says the burden can just shift to the former beneficiaries: coastal and Great Lakes states, which have "the technical expertise and procedures to continue beach monitoring without federal support." But the Los Angeles Times says that certainly isn't the case in California, which has had a hard time footing the bill even with federal funding.

And an LA environmental group's water quality director says this year could actually feel "like a double whammy to beachgoers." That's because the EPA isn't just planning to cut funds—it's also working on creating weaker US beach water quality standards. What woes can befall swimmers who take a dip in tainted water, thereby exposing themselves to pathogens? Fun things like diarrhea, vomiting, skin rashes, and ear, eye, and staph infections. (Read more EPA stories.)

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