SAN DIEGO — As people head to the beaches this Memorial Day weekend, South Bay beaches are closed for the time being because of a sewage-contaminated leak.

A group of people living in Coronado rallied to ask for more funding and attention to fix the issue.

“It’s going to run people away, it’s going to devastate the beach. It’s a public health emergency,” Laura Wilkinson Sinton said.

The yellow signs are still out at Coronado Beach “KEEP OUT SEWAGE CONTAMINATED WATERS.”

The City of Coronado said the source of the sewage comes from Baja California.

Now a group of people living in Coronado is demanding attention to the ongoing issue. The group wants county, state and federal leaders to listen up.

“Government all the way up and down to fix this binational problem because it can’t sit like this for four to five years. Our Navy SEALs train in this water, our children swim in this water. This is not acceptable,” Wilkinson Sinton said.

Residents worry about the health risks for them along with 3.5 million visitors a year.

“It should dilute and the sun should kill it off, but it doesn’t and it persists for weeks at a time,” fish physiologist Sandor Kaupp said. “Viral infections are easy to get it in your mouth, get it in your nose, aspirate it.”

Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey says it starts to create a “stigma in the South Bay that 12 miles of coastline are off limits, and that’s something we take very seriously in Coronado.”

In 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency committed $300 million to mitigate transboundary flow pollution. However, a project that would treat the sewage when it crosses over from the Tijuana River still needs $300 million more.

“It’s painstakingly slow, but until we see more action from federal officials, or this issue isn’t going to get solved,” Bailey said.

Coronado City Councilmember John Duncan said they have to keep the pressure on for more funding.

“City council we are small, but we can help push out the voice with our neighbors in Imperial Beach to get it to our state and federal representatives, to get it going,” Duncan said.

In order to gain back the trust of the public, Bailey says “better water quality testing” is part of it.

“That is something we are working closely with the county on what to tell residents and visitors that the water is safe,” Bailey said.

Residents argue enough is not being done fast enough.

“We are not going away. We are going to be very vocal about this problem, because as citizens we deserve no less,” Wilkinson Sinton said.

It’s unclear when Coronado Beach will reopen.