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Somerville Depot

Sommerville Depot
152 U.S. Highway 206 South
Sommerville, NJ 08876-4135

The Somerville Depot is currently owned by the Federal Government and operated by the Department of Defense (DoD), Defense Logistics Agency (DLA). The Somerville Depot is operated under the National Stockpile Program for the purpose of storing metallurgical ores and other materials necessary for manufacturing defense materials or strategic materials used in national defense.

The Somerville Depot consists of approximately 77 acres of land owned by the federal government. There are 28 different types of materials stored at the Depot,including chrome ore, lead, tin, copper, zinc, nickel, graphite, rubber, and mercury. The Somerville Depot stores 2,615 metric tons (2,883 tons)of mercury in 75,980 flasks.The entrance to the Depot is controlled by security guards and a seven-foot high fence.

The Somerville Depot is located on the west side of Route 206, approximately 2.5 miles south of Somerville, New Jersey. The geographic coordinates are approximately 40 32' 15" north latitude and 74 38' 00" west longitude. The entrance to the Depot is through Veterans Administration property on the western side of Route 206, approximately two and one half miles (4.0 km) south of Somerville, New Jersey. The Depot can be reached by following Interstate 287 to the Route 206 exit, and by following Route 206 South to the main Depot entrance west of the highway. Entrance is through the main gate through the portion of the former Depot which is owned by the Veterans Administration (VA). The current Depot is located approximately 0.75 miles west of the main gate.

Warehouse storage at the Depot consists of four ground-level concrete-block buildings with open steel roof supports, with an aggregate indoor storage capacity of approximately 800,000 square feet. A small vault with an indoor storage capacity of approximately 5,625 square feet is also present. Outdoor open storage areas cover approximately 455,000 square feet. The facility also includes the following support buildings: administration building, maintenance building, decontamination trailer, pump house, scale house, switch gear house, and vault.

The Depot was originally constructed in 1942 and 1943 as an Army Quartermaster Depot and prisoner of war camp. In 1947, the VA acquired 355 acres for use as a supply depot. The VA currently occupies approximately 165 acres to the east of the Sommerville Depot. The Somerville Depot occupies 76.87 acres. The remaining acreage has been excessed to the U.S. Postal Service (to the southwest), Somerset County, and Hillsborough County.

Somerville Depot is a Defense National Stockpile Center (DNSC) facility. DNSC was created after World War II with a mission of acquiring and storing strategic and critical materials for national defense purposes. The stockpile of materials was intended to decrease dependence upon foreign sources of supply in the event of national emergency. Now that the Cold War has ended, the Congress of the United States has directed DNSC to sell excess materials. The revenues generated from these sales are being used to support military operation, reduce the deficit, and fund DNSC operations. By 2020, most - if not all - DNSC depots will be closed or converted to other uses.

The Somerville Depot consists of approximately 77 acres of land. The depot stores various materials, including metallic ores, refined metals, mineral substances, and natural organic materials. Ores are stored in both exterior bulk piles and within various containers at exterior and interior storage locations. Containerized materials are stored in four warehouses.

The depot property is owned by the General Services Administration (GSA), who is the landlord of virtually all Department of Defense (DoD) property not located on a DoD installation. The depot was originally constructed in 1942 and 1943 as an Army Quartermaster Depot and prisoner of war camp. The depot is operated by 17 employees with additional round-the-clock armed security.

The current Depot property is situated in the western portion of the original 355-acre Depot. The adjacent land to the east is part of the original depot now being used by the Veterans Administration. To the north is the Duke Estate, a tract of approximately 3,000 acres which is largely undeveloped, and a parcel which was once part of the Depot and is currently being used as a firing range. To the west, land use reflects a mixture of residences and commercial businesses along Roycefield Road. Land use to the south is primarily residential, with some commercial businesses. A park and recreational area is also present on land to the southeast which was formerly part of the VA Depot.

Security at the facility is provided by a seven-foot chain-link fence surrounding the current Depot property, VA Depot, and US Postal Service (USPS) facility, and by contracted security personnel. There are six entrance gates and two railroad entrances which are kept locked when not in use. The main gate is open but controlled during working hours. Buildings are kept locked.

The Depot has a septic system which flows to a leach field on the adjacent USPS property. Storm water is discharged through four outfalls to tributaries of either Royce Brook to the south or Dukes Brook to the north. Potable water is obtained through a public water utility, the Elizabethtown Water Company. Fire protection water is available from a 2,000,000-gallon reservoir on-site. This reservoir is supplied by a well located on the adjacent VA property.

In the early 1940s, the land on which the current Depot is located was purchased from Doris Duke, and construction of the Jersey City Sub-Quartermaster Depot began. The area was used for supplying the U.S. military with food, clothing, etc. during World War II. A prisoner of war (POW) compound was also located on-site during this time period. Following the war, the property was taken over by the VA for use as a supply depot. Additional land leased from the Duke Estate brought the area under control by the VA to approximately 355 acres. In March 1952, just over 165 acres were transferred to the GSA for use as a depot. Excessed property since 1952 has reduced the area under control of the GSA to 76.87 acres. This excessed property has been transferred to the US Postal Service (for use as a warehousing facility), and to Somerset County (a portion of this land is being used as a firing range). Additional land from the original VA depot was transferred to Hillsborough Township under the Green Acres program for development of a park.

The strategic materials at the Somerville Depot are currently stored both outdoors and inside the warehouses. Materials stored outdoors are in drums or in piles, either on concrete pads, asphalt, or on a crushed, compacted stone surface. Other materials are stored in warehouses in drums, boxes, bags, etc. The warehouses are single story concrete block construction with concrete floors. They are protected by dry pipe sprinkler systems, and are kept locked and sealed unless required to be open for use. All commodities in the warehouses are arranged neatly with several feet of aisle space between pallets. As of March 31, 1998, the warehouses were used to store drums and other containers of the following materials: antimony, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, copper, cobalt, iodine, mercury, mica, quartz, rubber, tannin, titanium sponge, tungsten, ferrochrome, graphite, columbium carb, ferrocolumbium, ferrotungsten, talc, tantalum, and asbestos. Additional storage of germanium, indium, jewel bearings, quinidine, and quinine was provided in the vault. As of March 31, 1998, approximately 496,470 square feet of warehouse and vault space were occupied. In the outside open storage area, lead, nickel cathodes, chromite ore, ferrochrome, bauxite, aluminum oxide, manganese ore, and zinc were stored on compacted stone and asphalt and concrete pads (Reference 8). The occupied square footage in the open storage areas was approximately 270,720 square feet as of March 31, 1998.

Materials are delivered to the Depot by tractor trailer or railcar. Stockpiled materials are moved on-site by forklifts or front-end loader/backhoes.



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