UPDATED: 10:30 a.m.
Earlier Tuesday morning, swimmers weren’t allowed in the water along a three-quarter-mile stretch of the beach south of Miami Avenue to Jefferson Avenue. Officials had feared there may have been high levels of bacteria because of a malfunction at a nearby wastewater treatment plant.
Officials discovered Monday that phases of the wastewater treatment system at the Cape May County Municipal Utility Authority Seven-Mile Treatment Center failed to operate beginning sometime Sunday afternoon. They say the failure lasted through Monday morning.
"There was no chorine being pumped into into the effluent," explained Kevin Thomas, director of the Cape May County Health Department.
The temporary closure took beachgoers by surprise, like Lou from Staton Island. He says there was a sudden interuption on Monday.
"The lifeguards were telling everyone to get out of the waterm," he said.
Lorraine from West Deptford said she knew something was up when lifeguards and police became more active.
"I was talking to a 12-year-old yesterday and asked him how the beach was, and he didn't quite understand, but he said, 'They made me get out of the water,'" she said.
She wasn't too worried, though.
"I mean, things break down. I understand that. And the ocean will take care of it."
"Yesterday I noticed all these cars, police cars all lined up on the beach yesterday. You wonder what happened," said David from North Jersey.
Getting people out and stopping people from going in was a precautionary move. Officials were worried there was too much bacteria in the water because of a malfunction at the wastewater treatment center nearby.
The health department tested water samples for bacteria and found the levels low enough to re-open the beach.
The town's population can increase from 100,000 to 700,000 over the July 4th weekend, so the health department was hoping to keep the ban to no longer than 24 hours.