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 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 Rhode Island Chapter's Blue Water Task Force collects samples year-round samples from fifteen popular recreational areas throughout Rhode Island. Once collected, samples are brought to the University of Rhode Island’s Watershed Watch laboratory, where they are analyzed for fecal bacteria.
This program provides the only source of water quality data at RI’s ocean beaches outside of the narrowly defined summer beach season. As recreational users are in the water year-round and often away from lifeguarded beaches, this data fills in a critical need.