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Coronado cancels two beach events after county puts new ocean-water testing system in place

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-09 10:00:52-04

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - Two beach events in the City of Coronado were canceled, out of an abundance of caution, as a result of San Diego County’s new ocean-water testing technology.

The first event was the Rough Water Swim on July 2nd and the next is the California State Games Jr. Lifeguard Competition.

The executive director of the California State Games, Sandi Hill, said, “It’s upsetting to all of our Junior Lifeguards that were excited to compete there.. that they won’t be able to get in the water, but everyone else will.” Adding that they are now scrambling to find another location that will work for the competition which usually sees about 500 participants. Hill said they’ve had a great relationship with the City of Coronado over the years and hopes to be back there again next year.

“It was canceled due to the amount of uncertainty that exists, not necessarily with the water quality, but with the county’s policies around water quality testing,” said Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey.

Bailey has been critical of the new testing system and signs are now required to be posted on the beaches as of July 1. He’s asking the county to rethink its policy, saying beaches have mostly been safe over the summer for decades, and the new signs will cause issues.

“We're certainly not questioning the veracity of the new test, what we are questioning is the new threshold that is being used to determine whether the beaches should be under advisory or closed,” said Bailey. “For the past several decades we've rarely ever had a single day where the beaches were closed during the summer, but now we're seeing beaches closed a third of the summer days.”

Last week county Supervisor Nora Vargas spoke with ABC 10News about how she said the new system would help educate and protect public health.

“This new test is much more accurate and so the county is able to make much more informed decision on how we are able to inform beachgoers,” said Vargas.

Signs let beachgoers know if the water contains high levels of bacteria, that may cause illness.

There are three categories.

The Advisory sign lets people know bacteria levels in the water exceed state health standards.

The warning sign is when the beach water may contain sewage, it's swim at your own risk.

The Closure sign notifies beachgoers that the people must keep out of the water because the water is confirmed to be contaminated with sewage.