Army Corps outlines bomb removal plans


The Army Corps of Engineers presented Edgartown selectmen with its latest plan to find and remove unexploded WWII-era bombs from local beaches and ponds, at the selectmen’s Monday meeting.

During World War II, Martha’s Vineyard Airport was a Naval Air Station. Flight units including squadrons of Grumman Avenger torpedo bombers took to the skies over and around the Island to train before combat in the Pacific.

In recent years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has begun cleaning up what are termed Formerly Used Defense Sites, properties that the Department of Defense once owned or used, but no longer controls. Martha’s Vineyard is on that list .

The Corps said it is sending out notices requesting permission to enter the property of landowners on Cape Pogue, Wasque, Norton Point Beach, and South Beach at various times over the next two years. The operation will also include West Tisbury Great Pond. Contractors will use electronic detectors on land and underwater to evaluate how much ordinance remains.

“That will give us an idea if we have a problem, or we don’t have a problem,” said Carol Ann Charette of the Army Corps.

Ms. Charette said if anyone sees unexploded bombs, which are sometimes washed up after a big storm, the procedure is to recognize, retreat, and report. Calling 9-1-1 will set in motion the established procedure to handle the problem.