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Surfrider Foundation's Blue Water Task Force Virginia Beach

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Surfrider Foundation, Virginia Beach Chapter
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Main Project Information
Presented By Surfrider Foundation
Goal To monitor water quality at local beaches, bays, and ponds.
Task Collect water samples to ensure coasts are safe for recreation.
Where Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States of America

The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) is the Surfrider Foundation’s citizen science program which provides valuable water quality information to beach communities, raises awareness of local water pollution problems and works collaboratively with local stakeholders to implement solutions.

Surfrider’s network of 30+ volunteer-run BWTF labs measure bacteria levels at ocean and bay beaches and in freshwater sources, and compare them to the national water quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency to protect public health in recreational waters.

The Virginia Beach Chapter initiated their Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) water quality monitoring program during the spring of 2014. They have set up their sampling plan to compliment the State water testing program. The Virginia Department of Health conducts weekly water testing at public beaches in the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean during the swimming season, May-September. To ensure that waters are safe to swim and surf in year-round, the Chapter provides year-round water quality information at ocean beaches to protect the public health of surfers and other community members who will be going in the water.

Water samples are collected and brought to the Virginia Aquarium for processing, where they are analyzed for Enterococcus and other water quality parameters. See the Chapter's Blue Water Task Force Website Page for more information.

You can also see the Virginia Department of Health's Beach Monitoring Program here. Learn more about beach monitoring programs and water quality issues in Virginia in the water quality section of Surfrider's State of the Beach, Virginia State Report.

How to Join

If you would like to volunteer to help collect samples, please contact Shannon at

Social Media
Materials List Whirlpac bags, Car, Data Sheets, Thermometer
Ideal Age Group Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families, Seniors
Ideal Frequency Per month
Average Time An hour or so
Training Materials
Class Materials
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags bacteria, beach, citizen science, clean water, environmental science, ocean, volunteer
Project Updated 05/23/2018