Riverkeeper and partner Waterkeeper Alliance organizations in the region submitted comments to the EPA expressing extreme concern about the agency’s draft Recreational Water Quality Criteria (RWQC), which would set a new baseline for states to follow in setting standards for waters classified as suitable for swimming. These standards are required to ensure protection of public health and improvement of water quality in areas affected by sewage discharges and other sources of water pollution.
Beaches are a critical part of our nation’s economy and are the top vacation destination in the country. Yet millions of people become sick every year as a result of polluted recreational waters, a trend that has been increasing steadily over the past several decades according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). These illnesses can cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, infections of the ear, eye, skin and lung, as well as life threatening ailments. The groups are concerned that the proposed recreational criteria, if adopted, will be less protective of public health, will not require polluters to stop polluting, and will continue to mask the true impact of sewage on our waterways.
Key among the groups’ concerns are:
The comments were signed by Hudson Riverkeeper, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Hackensack Riverkeeper, Long Island Soundkeeper and Lake George Waterkeeper.
Letter to EPA on Water Quality Criteria (pdf 275K)