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Naval Weapons Station Earle

Environmental Restoration Program Public Website

This website is part of the Navy's commitment to provide accurate, timely, and comprehensive information on the Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) currently in progress at Naval Weapons Station (NWS) Earle located in Colts Neck, New Jersey. The Navy’s ERP for NWS Earle includes Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) sites, three Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) sites, and one New Jersey Site Remediation Program site. Site descriptions and environmental information are provided in the following pages.


NWS Earle is an active Naval facility located in Monmouth County, New Jersey, approximately 47 miles south of New York City. The station consists of two areas, the 10,248-acre Main Base (Mainside Area), located inland, and the 706-acre Waterfront Area. An estimated 1,200 people either work or live at NWS Earle.

The Mainside Area is located approximately 10 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean in Colts Neck, Howell and Wall Townships, and Tinton Falls Borough. The Mainside Area consists of a large, undeveloped portion associated with ordnance operations, production, and storage; this portion of the Base is encumbered by explosive safety quantity distance (ESQD) arcs that restrict use and development. Other land use in the Mainside Area consists of residences, offices, workshops, and warehouses, recreational space, open space, and undeveloped land.

All facilities located in the Mainside Area Administration area are connected to a public water supply (New Jersey American Water Company). Water for the public supply network comes from surface water intakes, reservoirs, and deep wells. No public water supply wells or surface water intakes are located on the NWS Earle facility. A combination of private wells and public water from the New Jersey American Water Company serves businesses and residences in areas surrounding the Mainside Area facilities.

Figure 1 - Mainside Area - Click on the map to download a larger PDF version.


The Waterfront Area, which is located approximately 10 miles north of the Mainside Area, is located in Middletown Township. Land use at the Waterfront facility includes residences and office buildings, recreational areas, open space, and undeveloped land. The Mainside and Waterfront Areas are connected by an approximately 10-mile railroad and Navy-controlled road right-of-way. Munitions and other supplies destined for Navy ships pass from the Mainside Area along the railroad right-of-way to the Waterfront Area to waiting ships at piers located in the Lower Hudson River Bay near Sandy Hook, New Jersey.

The Navy commissioned NWS Earle as a Naval Ammunition Depot on December 13, 1943, with the primary responsibility of furnishing ammunition to the Atlantic fleet. The current mission of Earle is to operate and maintain a coastal ordnance handling and processing facility supporting Atlantic Fleet, Coast Guard, and Department of Defense (DOD) requirements, while providing force protection, logistics support, and host services for personnel, homeported, and visiting ships.

Over 90 percent of the acreage at NWS Earle is dedicated to its primary mission of storage and delivery of ordnance. The actual amount of land used for storage and distribution facilities is much less than 90 percent due to the restrictions on land use and development within ESQD arcs. ESQD arcs are established around each individual storage facility to limit non-ordnance usage and provide safety to facility personnel during the storage and handling of ordnance materials. Development within these areas is extremely restricted by safety requirements. The formal disestablishment or reclassification of an ordnance manufacturing, storage, handling, maintenance, or disposal facility is required before any development can occur within an ESQD arc.

Figure 2 - Waterfront Area - Click on the map to download a larger PDF version.

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