News Releases

USACE completes munitions investigation at Middlesex County College construction site

Published May 19, 2015

***111 metallic anomalies were dug up during investigation, 0 were associated with MEC***

NEW YORK – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), New York District has completed its investigation into the potential presence of buried items related to munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) that could be related to the former Raritan Arsenal in the section of Middlesex County College where construction crews are building a new student services center. No munitions items were found during anomaly digs. All items removed were cultural debris, like scrap metal or other metallic items not related to MEC. No further investigation into the construction site is anticipated at this time.

On April 23, 2015, construction crews working on Middlesex County College uncovered a piece of munitions debris.  As crews are provided munitions safety briefings prior to any construction activities within the footprint of the former Raritan Arsenal, the crews recognized the potential hazard and followed proper safety protocols. They Recognized they had come across an item that was potentially of concern, they Retreated away from the item and stopped construction activities near it and they Reported what they had found to local authorities.

The item turned out to not be armed, did not contain chemical weapons materiel and did not contain high explosives. It was safely removed from the site by Explosive Ordnance Division (EOD) personnel from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and detonated, as per their protocols.

Further research determined the item, which was an unarmed AN-M43 practice bomb without high explosives, had been used as a decoration at the former Raritan Arsenal, likely in front of a sign outside of a building.

The discovery of the item triggered an investigation into the construction area on the Middlesex County College campus and crews conducted digital geophysical mapping (DGM) to identify subsurface metallic anomalies to be removed as part of efforts to determine the potential for any munitions and explosives of concern (MEC) in the construction area.

The DGM effort was completed in the weeks following the item’s discovery and crews dug up a 111 metallic anomalies this past weekend, specifically ones identified during the mapping as objects of most potential interest. The digging of these 111 items was to constitute a representative sampling of all subsurface anomalies located during mapping efforts. Of those 111 items, none were associated with MEC. All items removed were cultural debris, like scrap metal or other metallic items not related to MEC. No further investigation into the construction site is anticipated at this time.

The former Raritan Arsenal occupied approximately 3,200 acres and was bounded by Woodbridge Avenue and the Raritan River between Mill Road and Clearview Avenue in Edison, New Jersey. The arsenal operated from 1917 to 1963.  During this time the operations at the Arsenal included the receipt, storage, and maintenance of military munitions shipped from other facilities, or returned from overseas; the renovation of military munitions designated for long term storage; the salvage of outmoded or seriously deteriorated munitions; munitions research and development; and shipment and receipt of chemical weapons.

USACE is conducting work at the site, under the Defense Environmental Restoration Program for Formerly Used Defense Sites (DERP-FUDS).  DERP-FUDS is a federal program to investigate and clean up any environmental conditions resulting from the Department of Defense's past activities at installations that have since been transferred to private ownership.

Interested members of the public or the media can find out more information about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ ongoing remedial activities at the former Raritan Arsenal by visiting the project’s web site at:

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Chris Gardner

Release no. 15-005