The San Diego County Department of Environmental Health has issued a water contact warning for Imperial Beach and Coronado beaches. The beaches are not closed, but the county wants to notify people of the high bacteria levels.
Blue signs are posted along the shoreline as part of the new three-tier beach water monitoring system. The new signs were posted in Coronado Beach on Saturday to let people know there may be sewage in the water. Water contamination affected some events over Independence Day weekend. Despite the warnings, there are still plenty of people going into the water.
The new three-level warning system includes a white warning sign indicating that bacteria levels exceed health standards.
The blue sign means bacteria levels exceed state standards, combined with a southern swell that could push sewage 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, that area is a problem,” said Carlsbad triathlete Bill Babbitt.
Babbitt heads to Coronado every July 4th weekend for the annual Crown City 5k run and rough water swim. Swimming was canceled this year due to beach warnings.
“People are disappointed because it’s a sign of the times. It is the quality of the water. The problem is it’s not going to get better unless a sewage treatment plant is built,” Babbitt said.
The 4th of July choppy water swim has been a tradition for more than six decades. He also raises funds for children’s sports in Coronado.
“It affected our fundraising. We had about 150 people opt out this year because they didn’t know the status of the beaches,” said Peter McVey of the Coronado Swim Association.
North Park resident Onell Soto heard about the contamination warnings and went to the beach anyway.
“I think it’s important for people to know, but it’s also important to give them choice,” Soto said.
NBC 7’s Dave Summers explains how the county’s new water quality warning system will give swimmers more options.
The new warning categories will be implemented through September, then the county will see how well it serves the public.
County officials are encouraging 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. .