BWTF Water Testing Program

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The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) supported by Emergen-C Blue ® is the Surfrider Foundation’s volunteer-run, water testing, education and advocacy program. Our chapters use this program to alert citizens and officials in their communities about water quality problems and to work toward solutions. The BWTF has demonstrated success by identifying problems with beach and coastal water pollution, raising public awareness of these incidents and working collaboratively with local stakeholders to find and implement pollution solutions.

The BWTF has also precipitated the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities and continues to fill in data gaps, improving the public’s knowledge of the safety of their beach water. BWTF water testing programs measure bacteria levels at both marine and freshwater beaches and compare them to federal water quality standards established by the EPA to protect public health in recreational waters.

The Rincón chapter owns and operates its own volunteer fecal bacterial detection lab equipment, and since 2007 weekly tests at least several marine sites and freshwater outfalls in Rincòn, as well as mentoring a sister program in Isabela with Playa Rescate Isabela. We are the only community group in Puerto Rico who does this type of work, and offer these services to other community groups and school classes on an at-cost basis. The weekly BWTF emails go to more than 1500 people or agencies and maintain awareness of water quality issues in PR, and organizes presentations by researchers, scientists, and professors for local community groups and schools on this issue. In 2011 FSR out-performed all other Surfrider chapters involved in the BWTF program, and is a recognized source of information, data, and research help for PR microbiologists and associated projects.