May 14, 2017 by John Nicholson
Arcadis, a design and consultancy firm, recently completed an approximate $8 million contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Baltimore District to locate and safely remove pieces of World War I-era artillery boosters from three New Jersey beaches. The project follows Arcadis’ selection as one of nine contractors for the Multiple Award Military Munitions Services II contract valued at up to $240 million over five years to support the USACE Baltimore District with military munitions and environmental response services.
The artillery fusing pieces were inadvertently placed onto the beaches during the pumping of sand from the ocean when screening baskets failed to capture the small objects. The sand was brought ashore as part of a coastal storm risk management project after Hurricane Sandy along 7,600 feet of beach in Loch Arbour, Allenhurst and Deal in New Jersey.
The boosters, similar in size to a C battery and made of brass, are part of components that would connect a fuse to the explosives in an artillery round to make up a WWI-era projectile. While not armed, the boosters may contain aged explosives.
To fully address the hazard, USACE Baltimore enlisted Arcadis to excavate and screen the sand placed during the beach-fill operation. The project was successful in safely removing the munitions and allowed beach activities to return to normal prior to the 2017 beach season. Removal and screening operations began in late-2016 and were completed before the end of March 2017. Portions of the beaches were closed during the project to keep the public safe from heavy equipment.
As the prime consultant, Arcadis was responsible for all excavation and screening across more than 70 acres of shoreline, public outreach including health and safety briefings, distribution of informational materials and the involvement of local businesses through the duration of the project.