The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released an improved web-based app to help communities identify potential sources of pollution to recreational waters. This science-based and data-informed tool empowers communities and supports engagement in local decisions in protecting the health of swimmers and recreators from contaminants at lakes, rivers, and beaches while supporting the vitality of water-based economies.

“Everyone has a role in protecting public health and the environment. With EPA’s new app, community members can play a part in ensuring safer recreation and cleaner drinking water sources,” said Director of EPA’s Office of Science and Technology Deborah Nagle. “Real-time, high-quality data help improve prioritization of remediation actions and the development of models that would support same-day decisions on swimming advisories.”

EPA’s new Sanitary Survey App for Marine and Fresh Waters is designed to help protect swimmers and other recreators while improving management decisions that can help keep recreational waters open for use. EPA recognizes the role of community participation in supporting robust water quality datasets. This tool can help citizen scientists provide data on sources of pollution in a watershed and information on potential harmful algal blooms in surface waters that public health officials need to protect a community. These efforts can also ultimately promote safe public access to urban waterways and lead to aquatic ecosystem restoration.

While previous versions of the app focused on marine waters, this improved version has been expanded to include monitoring for fresh waters. Additionally, it has new functions including photo storage, geolocation data, and links to weather-related websites. The web-based app does not require the use of the Internet or WiFi to use. The agency will be conducting free, live training webinars between late April and late May on how to use the app. The dates and pre-registration instructions for the live training webinars are available on EPA’s Beaches website. Detailed instructions on how to access the app, as well as user manuals and training videos, will also be posted on the website.

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