Surfrider’s longest standing program
The Blue Water Task Force (BWTF), 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.
Our science-based approach
Since the inception of the Blue Water Task Force (BWTF) program more than 25 years ago, Surfrider volunteers have been out in their communities testing water quality at the beach. Now a large national network with nearly 55 chapter-led labs, the BWTF is measuring bacteria levels at more than 450 ocean, bay, estuary and freshwater sampling sites across the country. Most chapter water testing programs are designed to extend the coverage of state and local agency beach programs. The BWTF is also in operation year-round, providing public health protection through the off-season when lifeguards leave the beach and health officials stop collecting water samples.
Why water quality monitoring is so important
The Blue Water Task Force provides critical water quality information to protect public health at the beach. Surfrider chapters use this volunteer water testing program to raise awareness of local pollution problems and to bring together communities to implement solutions.
Blue Water Task Force labs measure fecal indicator bacteria levels in recreational waters and compare them to water quality standards set to protect public health. Chapter-run BWTF programs fill in the gaps and extend the coverage of agency-run beach monitoring programs by sampling ocean and bay beaches and potential freshwater sources of pollution such as stormwater outlets, rivers and creeks that discharge onto the beach.