NWS Earle is 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 (see Figure 2-1). An estimated 1,500 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 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 facilities.
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 and 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/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 this, but ESQD arcs are established around each individual storage facility. Development within these areas is extremely restricted by safety requirements. The formal disestablishment or reclassification of a facility is required before any development can occur within an ESQD arc.