It was a great day to be at the beach in Sea Bright, and even though Sen. Bob Menendez and Congressman Frank Pallone weren’t dressed for a dip, they were there to test the water — at least figuratively.
They were there for a press conference to support the BEACH Act, a law passed in 2000 that set standards nationwide for water testing. The advocacy group Clean Ocean Action says it’s time to strengthen the law.
“Almost 20 years later we really need an upgrade because we’ve learned a lot since,” said Cindy Zipf, executive director of the group. “We’ve discovered a lot of sources of pollution. There’s been a lot of reduction in the amount of sewage, but it’s still getting out there, and especially after rainstorms. And unfortunately the testing programs don’t require testing after rainstorms.”
New Jersey tests its water once a week on Mondays. The federal government pays for it — about $470,000 a year.
But the Trump administration is threatening to zero out the BEACH Act, which spends about $9 million for water testing across the country, according to Menendez.
“It’s the continuous coastal monitoring that the Beach Act funds that detected high levels of bacteria at some of our beaches this summer,” said Menendez. “It protected swimmers and surfers until they got word it was safe to go back in.”
Menendez hailed Pallone as the author of the act in the House of Representatives.
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