The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has issued a water contact warning for beaches in Imperial Beach and Coronado. The beaches are not closed, but the county wants to let people know about elevated bacteria levels.
Blue signs are posted along the shoreline as part of the new, three-tiered beach water monitoring system. The new signs were posted at Coronado Beach Saturday to let people know there may be sewage in the water. Water contamination has affected some events on Independence Day weekend. Despite the warnings, there are still plenty of people going in the water.
The new three-tiered warning system includes a white advisory sign indicating bacterial levels exceed health standards.
The blue sign means bacteria levels exceed state standards, combined with a south swell that could push sewage water north.
Previously, similar conditions would have caused a beach closure.
The yellow sign means the beach is closed due to contamination.
“You look on the map, Imperial Beach, Coronado, this area is a problem,” said Bill Babbitt, a triathlete from Carlsbad.
Babbitt goes to Coronado every July 4th weekend for the annual Crown City 5k race and Rough Water Swim. The swim was canceled this year because of the beach warnings.
“People are bummed because it’s a sign of the times. It’s water quality. The problem is that it’s not going to get better unless a treatment plant is built,” said Babbitt.
The 4th of July Rough Water Swim has been a tradition for more than six decades. It also raises money for children’s sports in Coronado.
“It has affected our fundraiser. We had about 150 people who chose not to register this year because they did not know the status of the beaches,” said Peter McVey with the Coronado Swim Association.
North Park resident Onell Soto heard about the contamination warnings and still went to the beach.
“I think it’s important for people to know but it’s also important to give people a choice,” said Soto.
The new warning categories will be implemented through September and then the County will see how well it serves the public.
County officials encourage residents and visitors to learn more about water quality conditions and risks by using the QR code on posted beach signs or by visiting sdbeachinfo.com for more information.