World War-I era projectiles have been discovered on recently replenished beaches in Loch Arbour and Allenhurst, authorities said.
Roughly 90 “boosters,” generally the size of a C battery and one of multiple components of a WWI-era projectile fired from artillery, were found along an approximately 2,000 to 2,500 feet of beach in the municipalities, according to US Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Chris Gardner.
“As with all other beach renourishment contracts, measures were in place to prevent MEC (Munitions and Explosives of Concern) to reduce the chance for these items to find their way to the beach,” he said in a release. “The use of a new area within the permitted Sea Bright borrow area has evidenced a new type of MEC never before encountered during beachfill projects.”
The boosters were not captured by the MEC baskets and were “inadvertently allowed onto the beach,” the spokesman added.
The Army Corps is now modifying the baskets to capture these particular boosters, which are made of brass and were never encountered during beach replenishment operations, Gardner said.
Crews are also scanning the beach with metal detectors to identify additional boosters or other possible MEC on the beaches, which are not closed.
Gardner expects the work to be done by Memorial Day weekend, adding that a more intrusive investigation that digs deeper into the sand will occur later.
While the boosters are not armed, they may contain aged explosives and should not be handled by the public, according to the spokesman.
The public is asked to follow the “3Rs” of explosives safety: “Recognize, Retreat, Report.”
Recognize when you may have encountered a munition and that munitions are dangerous.
Retreat – Do not approach, touch, move or disturb it, but move away from it
Report what you saw and where you saw it to local authorities by calling 911 or alerting local officials (e.g., a lifeguard). Police officials have been asked to contact the USACE Environmental & Explosive Safety personnel working on the contract.