On Friday, July 29 emergency crews were called to Sewatch International, located on Rehoboth Boulevard in Milford, after plant employees discovered what they thought was a leaking ordnance on a conveyer belt used to separate clams. After first responders viewed what they thought was an military munition, the Dover Air Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team was called to the scene. The ordnance was thought to have been dug up during the dredging process of harvesting clams on the ocean floor.
The munitions tested positive for the presence of a chemical agent following an investigation by EOD members that was later confirmed as mustard gas.
“When our explosives team took control of the round they noticed it was leaking,” stated DAFB spokesman Senior Airman Jacob Morgan. “The ordnance tested positive for a chemical agent and the area was cordoned off to prevent any further exposure.”
According to the Milford Police Department (MPD), 4 individuals were taken to the hospital on Friday as a precautionary measure and have since been released. MPD issued an emergency alert on Friday afternoon, using the new Milford Emergency Alert System. It disclosed information about the incident and shared with the public that the situation was “under control and contained” at that time.
Friday night the munition was identified by 436th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal members and members of the 20th Support command as a Mark II 75mm Mustard Round.
“The two teams detected a small amount of mustard agent leaking, but they took necessary precautions to ensure the safety and security of the round,” stated Jacob Morgan, Senior Airman, USAF “The round posed no threat outside its immediate area at the plant and was safely transported by a team from the Army’s 20th Support Command to Dover AFB.”
United States Air Force officials state that the munition will be properly disposed of by a mix of members from the 20th Support Command and other government agencies.
Officials at Seawatch International say that all necessary protocols were taken by the Department of the Army. Jerry Gordon, Chief Executive Officer of Sea Watch International, stated that occasionally ordnances are drudged from the Ocean floor and that Seawatch has “specific procedures that are implemented” when this happens. Mr. Gordon also assured that none of the materials from Friday’s incident reached the “flow of goods”.