A beach replenishment project has pumped battery-sized components of World War I-era ammunition onto some New Jersey beaches, and officials are warning people who find them to alert authorities.
More than 90 boosters for howitzer projectiles, the size of a C battery, have been found in Allenhurst and Loch Arbour on the central New Jersey shore, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Asbury Park Press.
The discovery marks the first time munition parts have ended up on the beach since the corps added a screen process to its sand dredging projects in 2007. That was when more than 1,000 pieces of unexploded ordnance were found in Surf City after a beach replenishment project.
Corps spokesman Chris Gardner said the boosters are part of the projectiles fired by howitzers, but are not bombs. He warned people not to take them home with them.
"We don't want to overplay the risk, but we don't want to underplay it either," Gardner said. "They are not a bomb, but they are not a toy. These are not something to be taken home as an interesting find."
Sand is screened as it is pulled from the ocean, then undergoes finer screening as it is piped onto the beach, Gardner said. But boosters, which are made of brass and are lighter than other munition parts, passed through a hole designed to release shells.
The screening baskets have since been modified, he said. But crews now need to sift through about 350,000 cubic yards of sand placed on the beaches since the replenishment project started.
The Corps hopes to have them removed by Memorial Day weekend.