Sanitary Surveys for Recreational Waters
A sanitary survey is a method of investigating the sources of fecal contamination to a water body. Sanitary surveys are often used for drinking water, shellfish, and watershed protection programs. They can also be used at beaches. Sanitary surveys help state and local program managers and public health officials identify sources of water pollution, assess the magnitude of pollution, and identify priority locations for water testing.
Sanitary surveys involve collecting information at the beach , as well as in the surrounding watershed.
number of birds, dogs and people
location and condition of bathrooms and
amount of algae.
location of storm water outfalls
surface water quality and
residential septic tank information.
Program managers can use the sanitary survey results to prioritize state or county resource allocations to help improve water quality. In addition, they can use sanitary survey data (e.g., bacteria levels, source flow, turbidity, rainfall) to develop models to predict water quality using readily available data.
EPA developed .
EPA Sanitary Survey App for Marine and Fresh Waters
EPA has updated its recreational sanitary survey app, EPA Sanitary Survey App for Marine and Fresh Waters (App), to help waterbody managers evaluate all contributing waterbody and watershed information including water quality data, pollution source data, and land use data. The data from the App can be exported for use in predictive models and for sharing within or between agencies (e.g., public health and environmental).
The App includes routine and more comprehensive annual sanitary surveys for both fresh and marine waters. The App surveys update the paper sanitary surveys for the Great Lakes and marine waters. The App enables jurisdictions to easily gather information on possible existence of harmful algal blooms, in addition to sources of bacterial pollution.
Compatibility with all mobile/handheld devices (smartphones, iPads, tablets and laptops)
Free to use or store data compared to other similar apps
Accessibility via Google Play, Apple’s App Store and any browser
Connectivity to WiFi or Internet not required for use
Ability to include photos
Geolocates beach and waterbody locations
Ability to download data in several file formats including Shapefiles, CSV, Excel, and GeoJSON.
Sanitary Surveys for Marine Waters
EPA has developed a Routine On-site Sanitary Survey and an Annual Sanitary Survey that are specific to marine beaches. They are included in EPA’s Sanitary Survey App for Marine and Fresh Waters. The survey forms include detailed questions on winds, tides, and other characteristics that affect marine beaches and were not included on the surveys for fresh waters such as the Great Lakes, lakes, rivers and streams.
- Fact Sheet
- Sanitary Survey User Manual (Updated version coming soon)
- Annual Sanitary Survey
- Routine On-Site Sanitary Survey
Sanitary Surveys for Fresh Waters
Great Lakes Beach Sanitary Survey developed and piloted in the Great Lakes, they can be used in any environment ().
- News Release (May 30, 2008)
- Fact Sheet about the Great Lakes Beach Sanitary Survey
- Great Lakes Beach Sanitary Survey User Manual (including forms and appendices) (Updated version coming soon)
- Great Lakes Beach Sanitary Survey Forms
- Great Lakes Pilot Project Summary Report | Appendices to the Summary Report
- Map of Great Lakes beaches with a sanitary survey pilot