Workers at a company that cleans topsoil found what turned out to be a land mine, possibly from the Civil War, in a soil shipment, police said.

At about 11 a.m. Tuesday, June 21, the Material Transport Group on Randolph Road notified the Howell police of a possible land mine found in topsoil employees were sifting, Det. Sgt. Peter Kuppler said in a news release.

After Howell police arrived, it was determined it resembled a Civil War-era land mine, he said in the release.

The New Jersey State Police Bomb Unit was called in and, when it arrived at the scene, it determined the device was possibly still live and would have to be destroyed on the site.

The scene was secured by the Howell police and the device was destroyed by the bomb unit without incident. There were no injuries, police said.

Kuppler said the land mine was round, about the size of a coconut but much heavier with a bit of a top. He said it was a manual land mine, meaning when it was used in its day a trigger would have to be pulled with a string. No string was attached to it.

He said there was no information about the origin of the soil that contained the land mine.

Because the device appeared to be air tight and could still be explosive, it had to be destroyed at the site, he said.

Kuppler said the Randolph Road company is near Route 547 in the southern end of town. It is in a commercial zone and soil is brought in to be cleaned in the midst of large open spaces.

According to its website, Material Transport Group is a state-approved Class B recycling facility
with wholesale premium screened topsoil and premium mulch. It accepts tree parts, brush, stumps and chips.