The beach at Stenton Place and St. James Place was closed to swimming early on Monday morning (Aug. 13) as health officials tested the water for bacteria levels.
Later on Monday morning, city officials prohibited swimming on the beaches between First and Third streets — including the protected beaches at St. Charles Place and Delancey Place.
A Cape May County Health Department employee was on the beach early Monday and said the bathrooms on the Ocean City Boardwalk at First Street had overflowed on Sunday and that the discharge made its way through the outfall pipe that dumps storm water to the north of the First Street jetty.
Ocean City Community Services Director Jim Mallon said Monday morning that his understanding was that the sewer discharge was not from the bathrooms but from a "localized sewer leak" on the streets near First Street and Corinthian Avenue.
"As a result of this leak, some material may possibly have entered the storm sewer system," Mallon said in a news statement. "As a precaution, and at the direction of the Cape May County Health Department, water samples have been taken for testing. Pending the results of the testing, the City expects bathing on Stenton Place beach to resume Tuesday. The swimming restriction is standard practice as a precautionary measure."
The same beach was closed to swimming two weeks ago after a small sewage discharge on the streets. Beaches at Eighth, Ninth and 10th streets were closed last Monday after a similar incident.
Adjacent beaches and the rest of Ocean City's 40 lifeguard-protected beaches remain open to swimming on Monday.
"As you know, we have had recent instances when the city has had to restrict access to bathing on specific beaches due to sewer backups," the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce wrote Monday afternoon in an email to members. ... We ask that you please share this information with your business neighbors, particularly those businesses using grease and oil. When these closures occur, they have a direct impact on all businesses and tourism."
The Chamber's email linked to a NJ American Water Flyer detailing guidelines for disposal of grease and oil (also attached to this story as a PDF).
"The city will be working with the county Health Department to address any specific business who we believe may not be properly disposing of grease and oil," the Chamber said.