WWII-era Munitions Removal from NJ Beaches

As part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) replenishment project, 886,000 cubic yards of sand were dredged and pumped onto New Jersey’s Surf City and Ship Bottom beaches. Shortly thereafter, Weston was called upon to remove potentially explosive World War II-era munitions discovered by local residents on the beach fills.

In a multi-phased project conducted in 2007 and 2009, Weston removed the munitions from the dunes, the berm (the beach from the dunes to the low-water mark), and 150 feet into the surf zone at low tide. The first phase was a Time Critical Removal Action that characterized and removed munitions to a depth of approximately 3 feet. In a subsequent, Non-Time Critical Removal Action, we sieved the beach fill to pre-replenishment depths of approximately 13 feet. This second phase also included extensive work within the surf zone and restoration of the beach and dunes after the sieving process was complete. In both projects, Weston’s rapid action allowed the beaches to reopen for the Memorial Day holiday.

In the end, Weston was able to overcome extreme weather conditions and critical schedules to safely locate and remove 3,000 munitions items in two separate removal actions. This was done working closely with many stakeholders, including multiple USACE Districts, regulators, town officials, and the public. The client ultimately cited our team’s “rapid, cohesive, and successful response to mitigate a situation that posed a threat to the general public” and awarded the project team their 2008 and 2009 USACE Philadelphia District’s External Partnering Awards.