A $9 million beach nourishment project meant to stave off erosion in Surf City, N.J., pumped offshore sediment — and old ordnance — near people’s homes. (Photograph by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
On a chilly day in late January, Darren Buscemi took his 10-year-old daughter, Ali, and 8-year-old son, David, to the beach at Surf City, N.J., to try out a new metal detector. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had just begun to pump 33,000 dumptruck loads' worth of sediment onto the shore, and Buscemi, a real estate developer, suspected he might find something interesting. When telltale beeping led him to a rusty cylinder 412 in. long, Buscemi thought it was a pin from the wooden beam of an old sailing ship. "I was jumping for joy," he says, "like, 'Look what I found.'"
The cylinder was a World War II-era bomb fuse.