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Summary remarks from the National Beach Conference
- Subject: Summary remarks from the National Beach Conference
- From: Richard L Whitman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2006 11:03:33 -0400
- Delivered-to: email@example.com
- Delivered-to: firstname.lastname@example.org
I included links to the BEACHNET
FORUM for summary remarks at the National Beach Conference by Steve Weisburg
and EPA closing remarks. Below is the actual remarks, any comments
should be forward to BEACHNET.INFO section. Again, thanks to Bart
Bibler for compiling these comments.
Recommendations from the Rapid Assessment
facilitated by Steve Weisberg, SCCWRP
1) Provide States with more freedom,
and better definition about limitations to that freedom, for how they may
spend their BEACH Act
money. The States are the breeding
ground for most new technologies
and they need to know under what circumstances
they can pilot new technologies.
2) Clarify the process by which EPA
decides which new technologies to adopt, encourage or tolerate. This
should come in the form of a guidance document to method developers that
details the process, the decision criteria, and who to call if the process
EPA suggested that the criteria
for acceptance will differ dependent on whether the technology is a new
method to measure presently used indicators or technology for measuring
a new indicator. They further identified that the acceptance process
would differ dependent on how the technology would be applied (e.g. compliance
assessment vs. health warnings). The guidance document should identify
separate decision paths for each alternative.
3) Incentivize industry to develop
new technology. This might come in
the form of developing a market analysis
for new technology. It might also come in the form of workshops that
help define user requirements.
It could also come in partnership with
other federal agencies that issue small business grants.
4) Develop an interagency plan for
accomplishing each of the above. EPA is one of several federal organizations,
including NOAA, USGS and NSF, that are developing and/or funding alternative
technology for measuring bacterial contamination,. They are also
one of several federal organizations, including FDA, NOAA and NIST, that
are responsible for providing guidance to the user community about methods
or for establishing thresholds associated with those methods. Even
within EPA, there are numerous other programs to which new microbiological
measurement methods might apply, such as the drinking water programs. A
more unified process for method developers to engage multiple programs
would motivate them and would facilitate exchange of technology across
5) Create an evaluation mechanism
that will better inform the users about the capability of new technologies.
Without impartial input, the user community is left to rely on the
claims of scientists or industry that have a vested stake in the outcome.
EPA need not implement the evaluation themselves, as there are potential
mechanisms that have been implemented previously through organizations
such as SCCWRP, ASTM and NIST, but EPA needs to clarify how they would
use such evaluations and provide a means for communicating the results
of such evaluations to the user community.
CONCLUDING REMARKS BY EPA
Niagara Falls, NY National Beaches
Conference, October 13, 2005
of work going on in lots of different places by lots of different people
and companies around development of new and better indicators and rapid
are getting close to being ready to make transition from lab to actual
needs to invest effort in better articulation and in developing the process
for “government approval” and the flexibilities in the use of different
approaches and methods by states.
biology work to ID possible new indicators is suggesting that perhaps new
EPA criteria should be more of a toolbox approach, with multiple indicators
and maybe tiering.
–EPA needs to consider addressing regional differences and different needs
to ensure human health protection in different locations.
to take a harder look at models and their use and how they might be better
integrated into the Beach Program.
that in some cases, in some locations, modeling predictions might actually
be better tool.
needs to address in some manner extent to which modeling work can be supported
by Beach Grant $.
expense of epi studies and explosion of research into multiple indicators,
everyone doing epi studies really needs to work together to make the most
of these resources.
consideration of adding additional indicators and/or methods and sharing
costs of adding these.
of fecal contamination versus direct measurement / monitoring for pathogens
continue to sense and have some discomfort about the extent to which the
indicator bacteria paradigm is where we should be and stay in the future
and whether this is really protecting public health (*regrowth, natural
sources of indicator, etc).
waste and better understanding these human health risks needs attention.
focusing source tracking and sanitary survey work on differentiating human
from non-human sources seems to assume that non-human waste is not as much
of a public health issue OR cannot be controlled: need to better
understand these risks.
flux and fate and transport work is needed to better understand what is
going on AND how to better reduce risks and better warn swimmers at beaches
with the public about the risks is in need of improvement
better communication starts with better understanding what is really going
on from a scientific perspective.
I really feel comfortable as a scientist that I understand the risks, flux,
fate and transport then I can communicate more effectively. (caveating
assoc with uncertainty is often what causes communication problems).
needs to consider leadership role in bringing people together to assess
what we know, what we don’t know, what the priority science/research needs
are, and how we should move forward.