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Coastal Waters

As you may have heard, our beautiful, coastal waters may be closed from time to time.

While limiting access to the Pacific Ocean is disheartening for groups, visitors and locals alike, closures such as these happen occasionally as a safeguard – and are designed to help protect the public. After many years of research, we are fortunate to now have access to new highly sensitive testing measures which accurately detect unsafe water.

New DNA based testing – and the resulting beach closures – are only for the benefit and safety of groups, visitors and residents. The test, known as droplet digital polymerase chain reaction, or ddPCR, will be expanded to more than 70 miles of San Diego County shoreline to help protect the public.

The new standards used to evaluate water safety have undergone rigorous evaluation by top scientific experts for nearly a decade. So now when swimmers are given the green light to plunge in the ocean, they can rest assured that it is clean, safe and toxin-free.

In the meantime it is important to note that while the water may be off limits from time to time, Coronado’s pristine white beaches are always OPEN for year-round enjoyment.

It’s no surprise that coastal scientist Stephen Leatherman called Coronado Beach ​“the toast of Southern California, a veritable oasis by the sea that is hundreds of yards wide with sub-tropical vegetation, a unique Mediterranean climate and fine sparkling sand.”

Click here for a live peek of Coronado Beach! This free webcam shows the crashing waves, ocean breezes and golden beach sand from Hotel del Coronado.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is causing the occasional closure of beach water?
Baja California’s wastewater management systems is overtaxed. As a result, sewage is crossing the border from Tijuana into San Diego’s South Bay region, including Coronado.Specifically, recent studies out of UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Stanford University have identified a defunct wastewater facility in Tijuana as a major source of the pollution.
Which beaches are monitored?
All Coronado beaches – including Tidelands Park, Coronado Beach, Silver Strand and Coronado Shores.
Are signs posted near the water?
Yes, signs will be posted if beach water is less than perfect. They include a yellow and white advisory sign when test results exceed State health standards, but no known sewage conditions exist. An orange and blue warning sign when testing exceeds State health standards and ocean conditions are pushing waters from the south (Tijuana) to the north. Even though sewage impacts are not verified, sewage may be in the water. Swimmers may enter the water at their own discretion. Red and yellow signs are posted if there are known sewage impacts. This only occurs when sewage in the water is verified. To protect the everyone’s health, State law requires the closure of affected waters.
Can I still enjoy Coronado Beach without going into the water?
Yes, the beach itself is NOT closed. Only the water will be off limits from time to time. Most times, your beach experiences are a good distance from the water. That means your programs are typically not impacted if the water along Coronado’s coast is considered unsafe. Your team will be advised to continue their program as planned, but avoid splashing, swimming or playing in the water when warning signs are posted.
Has the water on Coronado Beach closed in the past?
Closures in the area have occurred occasionally for decades. They were once thought of as largely a wintertime occurrence, exacerbated by run off from winter rains. Now, due to new highly sensitive testing, experts have come to realize water contamination can be a year-round occurrence.
Has water pollution gotten worse?
No, cross-border pollution from Baja California’s overtaxed wastewater system has not gotten worse. But due to the more sensitive testing, experts have learned the ocean in San Diego’s South Bay area is more polluted than previously thought.
What is the new test?
San Diego is the first coastal county in the nation to institute a federally approved ocean water-quality testing system that uses highly sensitive DNA technology. A joint effort involving nine years of research, the testing involves the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, California Department of Public Health and researchers at UC San Diego. The test, known as droplet digital polymerase chain reaction, or ddPCR, will be expanded to more than 70 miles of San Diego County shoreline to help protect the public.
Why was new testing implemented?
Transparency. The process for devising new testing began in response to inquiries from the community about water safety. Area residents wanted faster results – and more accurate information on if the ocean could make them sick
How is the new testing different than the older means?
The old testing regime relied on taking a culture, with scientists examining water samples for bacterial growth in a lab. Experts maintain that the new DNA-based method is not only more accurate but quicker, returning results within 10 hours instead of 24. In either scenario, the presence of bacteria is considered an indicator for pathogens, such as E. coli, Vibrio and salmonella.
Is the new testing necessary?
Yes, while we may not like the occasional closures or warnings, we encourage and prioritize safety. The new testing and the closures are necessary to protect beachgoers from sometimes dangerously high levels of bacteria and viruses, according to county public health officials.
What happens if I ignore the signs and go swimming?
Swimmers who ignore the restrictions or warnings sign could be at risk of diarrhea, fever, respiratory disease, meningitis and even paralysis.
What is being done to minimize the pollution?
The Environmental Protection Agency has a $630 million plan to help mitigate the cross-border pollution. So far, $450 million has been invested. A major portion if this is an effort to reroute much of the wastewater to the South Bay International Wastewater Treatment Plant along the border in San Diego.
Are there any short-term solutions?
Nothing at this time, but new protocols and testing measures are always in development and being considered.
In the meantime, what do you recommend to swimmers if the water is off limits?
Swimmers have lots of safe options when ocean and bay water is deemed unsafe. First, Coronado’s top resorts feature lots of swimming pool options to their guests and visiting groups. Otherwise, the City of Coronado operates a public pool at the Community Center, 1845 Strand Way, Coronado, Ca. (619) 522‑7342 Source: San Diego Union Tribune

Want to know more?

Danielle Rossetto, our Destination Sales Director, can share the latest news and updates. Contact her at (619) 319‑5174.

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