Overview of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
In the early 1980s, it was discovered that two of Camp Lejeune’s eight water treatment plants – Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point – were contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Since the late 1980s, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has been evaluating the health risks of Camp Lejeune’s water. And according to federal reports, the base water may have been contaminated by harmful chemicals for decades.
The contaminated drinking water endangered everyone living or working on the base, with those at the highest risk being people who spent at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987.
ATSDR’s research and numerous other studies have shown that people who lived or worked on the base during this time are at risk of developing cancer, birth defects, and other serious health conditions.
With people sick and dying from unexplainable conditions, victims and their loved ones were left wondering for decades about what happened at Camp Lejeune.
Thankfully, if you or a loved one was harmed by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, you may now be owed compensation. Find out if you are eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit now.
How Did Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Mix Into Clean Water?
The two water supply wells at Camp Lejeune collected and pumped the contaminated groundwater into a treatment plant. Since the military cycled the eight wells at Camp Lejeune (alternating from one well to another), only a few would pump water at any given time.
Whenever the two contaminated wells were in operation, they pumped the toxic water into the treatment plants, mixing it with clean water from the uncontaminated wells before being delivered to the base.
Because of this, the contamination in the water varied during the decades-long period. Alarmingly, ATSDR’s research found that both short- and long-term exposure to the chemicals in Camp Lejeune’s water increases the risk of health conditions.
Is the Government to Blame for Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Yes. The federal government, the United States military, and a privately owned dry cleaner contaminated the groundwater near Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point with dangerous chemicals.
Toxic chemicals seeped into the groundwater from the following sources:
- Burn and drum dumps
- Former fire training area
- Fuel tank sludge area
- Industrial fly-ash dump
- Liquid disposal area
- Off-base private dry cleaner
- Open storage pit
- Original base dump
- Transformer storage lot
Who Are the Victims of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
Enlisted families — including infants and children — and younger, unmarried service personnel living in residential areas served by these two water systems were the main victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination. In total, it’s believed over 1 million people suffered from the toxic water.
Victims of Camp Lejeune water contamination include:
- Marine and Navy personnel
- Civilian workers
- Their family members, including pregnant women, infants, and young children
Although many Camp Lejeune victims have faced decades of frustrating denials by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) while also battling serious health conditions, they may finally get the money they are owed thanks to the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022.
Watch our short video that explains what the PACT Act means to Camp Lejeune victims and their loved ones.
Learn what the recently signed PACT ACT means for veterans and their loved ones stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. View Transcript.
Duration: 01 min 51 sec
Camp Lejeune 101: What the PACT ACT means for Camp Lejeune 101 veterans. On August 10th, 2022, United States President Joe Biden signed the PACT ACT, a bill that offers the most significant increase in critical healthcare and disability benefits to millions of veterans in their families in more than three decades, but what does this bill specifically mean for veterans who are stationed at Camp Lejeune?
Between 1953 and 1987, nearby businesses were dumping hazardous chemicals that made their way into the Camp Lejeune water supply systems. The water contained toxins, such as benzene, perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene, and vinyl chloride, chemicals that can cause cancer, infertility, miscarriages, and other illnesses. Residents and staff were repeatedly exposed to the site’s tap water system, including drinking and bathing in the water.
The PACT Act includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, a bipartisan bill that allows veterans and their families who were exposed to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits and recover compensation for the harm done. If you or your loved ones were exposed to the toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to financial compensation. The Camp Lejeune Claim Center has been helping veterans and their families pursue compensation for their injuries. Call (866)-473-4764 today to request a free case review and see how we can help you to.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Risk Factors
Camp Lejeune water contamination risk factors are unfortunately not easy to predict. However, Marines who were in training at Camp Lejeune may be at the highest risk.
“A Marine in training under warm weather conditions could drink between one and two quarts of water per hour. Combining this ingestion rate with dermal and inhalation exposures from showering twice a day, a Marine could consume a liter-equivalent of up to eight liters of drinking water per day.”
Another important risk factor is how the toxic water exposure occurred, including:
- Drinking the water
- Bathing or coming into contact with the water through the skin
- Inhaling the water’s chemicals while bathing or dishwashing
- Swimming in the water during training exercises or recreation
Sadly, some studies suggest pregnant women and young children were at especially high risk for illness. This is because the presence of contaminants in drinking water can cause serious complications for expecting mothers, such as miscarriage. Congenital anomalies and even fetal death can occur in developing babies.
If you or a loved one has experienced health issues or illnesses that could be linked to Camp Lejeune toxic water, see if you can get connected with a Camp Lejeune water lawyer now to discuss your risk factors and legal options.
When Was Camp Lejeune’s Water Contaminated?
According to ATSDR, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated from the 1950s through the 1980s. Anyone who lived or worked on the base during this time may have been exposed.
Since families lived on the base, this included pregnant women, infants, and children. Anyone born up until the mid-1980s could still be at risk today.
Fortunately, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (part of the PACT Act) could allow eligible victims to pursue a claim, no matter how long ago they were exposed.
Chemicals in Camp Lejeune Toxic Water
Camp Lejeune contaminated water is believed to be caused by VOCs released into the groundwater and pumped into the base through the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point wells.
ATSDR determined that the Camp Lejeune water wells contained:
- Dichloroethylene (DCE)
- Tetrachloroethylene – also known as perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Other contaminants
Tarawa Terrace Water Contamination
The primary contaminant believed to be present at Tarawa Terrace is PCE. People who lived or worked at Tarawa Terrace between 1957 and 1985 were exposed to water with PCE concentrations well above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) maximum contaminant level.
Hadnot Point Water Contamination
The origin of Hadnot Point’s contamination is believed to be more complicated since multiple sources and chemicals were involved.
TCE is believed to be the primary contaminant, but other chemicals were also present, especially from 1953 to 1985. Hadnot Point’s water supply is considered far more contaminated than Tarawa Terrace’s.
Even if you’re unsure where you or your loved one lived or worked at Camp Lejeune, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our skilled Camp Lejeune advocates can listen to your story and may be able to help you pursue compensation for injuries.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Illnesses
Research shows that people who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune when the water was contaminated are at greater risk of developing many different health conditions.
Camp Lejeune water contamination illnesses include:
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease
- Aplastic anemia
- Birth defects
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Colorectal cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Heart disease
- Hepatic steatosis
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurological disorders
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Pancreatic cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Renal toxicity
Additionally, babies whose mothers were exposed to Camp Lejeune water during pregnancy were at increased risk for certain birth defects, multiple types of cancer, and neural tube defects.
“Marines have complained they and their children suffered cancer, including breast cancer and fatal leukemia, because of the contamination.”
If you or a loved one developed a health condition from water contamination at Camp Lejeune, you may finally be able to file a lawsuit to receive compensation from the government. Find out your eligibility through our simple Camp Lejeune claim process now.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Deaths
According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the medical journal Environmental Health, people stationed at Camp Lejeune when the water was actively contaminated are more likely to die from certain cancers or Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
The study compared 150,000 Marines stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1975 to 1985 with 150,000 Marines stationed at Camp Pendleton in California during that same time.
Camp Lejeune Marines were found to have the following increased risks:
- Roughly 10% greater risk of dying from cancer
- 35% higher risk of kidney cancer
- 42% higher risk of liver cancer
- 47% higher risk of Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Double the risk of ALS if exposed to vinyl chloride
If you or a loved one developed a terminal illness after exposure to the drinking-water contamination at Camp Lejeune, contact the Camp Lejeune Claims Center without delay.
Even if your loved one passed away decades ago, you may still be eligible to file a lawsuit for exposure to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune on their behalf.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Symptoms
While the specific symptoms vary depending on the illness, behavioral changes and cognitive impairment are among the potential early warning signs of exposure to contaminated Camp Lejeune water.
Other Camp Lejeune water contamination symptoms may include:
- Fever or chills
- Lack of coordination
- Light sensitivity
- Numbness in limbs
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Trouble concentrating
Talk with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, as they can be signs of more serious conditions.
Camp Lejeune Veterans Benefits
Camp Lejeune veterans benefits for presumptive illnesses have been available through the VA for some time.
To get benefits, veterans and their family members must show evidence that they:
- Lived on the base for 30+ days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, or have a dependent relationship with a veteran who served at Camp Lejeune during this time
- Paid health care expenses for a covered condition within the designated date ranges
While VA support and benefits have provided some relief to those affected, many feel they were not enough. Others have faced service connection denials, locking them out of receiving the disability benefits they desperately need.
With the passing of the PACT Act, veterans and their loved ones may be eligible for financial compensation on top of any benefits they currently receive. Even veterans whose claims filed in the past were denied may be newly eligible.
Contact us now to discuss what legal options may be available to you or your family.
Can Camp Lejeune Victims Take Legal Action?
Yes. Since the PACT Act was signed into law in August of 2022, you may finally be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit against the federal government.
Camp Lejeune toxic water survivors have been fighting for decades to get justice. After the tireless efforts of victims, family members, and advocates, the time has finally come.
Contact the Camp Lejeune Claims Center now. We can connect you with qualified lawyers with the experience and resources to successfully file Camp Lejeune toxic water contamination lawsuits.
Help for Camp Lejeune Victims and Families
If you or a loved one lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 may entitle you to financial compensation. Even if the exposure happened decades ago, it is not too late to pursue justice.
Our Camp Lejeune attorneys don’t charge upfront or out-of-pocket fees – they only get paid if your case results in financial compensation. To learn more, get a free, no-obligation consultation now.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination FAQs
What contaminated the water at Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune water contamination was caused by two water supply systems – Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. The wells collected contaminated groundwater and pumped it into the treatment plant that supplied water to the base.
What was in the water at Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune’s water was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), according to a federal public health agency called the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
VOCs have high vapor pressure and low water solubility. Many VOCs are manmade and are used to make industrial solvents, degreasers, petroleum fuels, hydraulic fluids, paint thinners, and dry cleaning agents. They are common groundwater contaminants and are known to cause severe health effects.
What chemicals were in the water at Camp Lejeune?
ATSDR reported that Camp Lejeune’s water was contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), dichloroethylene (DCE), vinyl chloride, benzene, and other toxic substances, many of which are carcinogenic (cancer-causing).
When was Camp Lejeune water contaminated?
The base water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated from the 1950s through the 1980s, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Is Camp Lejeune water still contaminated?
No. The drinking water at Camp Lejeune is now safe. According to the official website of the U.S. Marine Corps, the water meets all drinking water requirements set by the government. Additionally, the water is tested more frequently than the government requires.
How can I file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim?
It’s not too late to file a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination. The PACT Act of 2022 allows Camp Lejeune water contamination victims to file a claim even if they were denied in the past and even if they were exposed decades ago.
However, the deadline to file is August 2024, so it’s important to connect with a reputable Camp Lejeune toxic water lawyer as soon as possible.