Established in 1941 and located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, Camp Lejeune is a 246-square-mile U.S. Marine Corps military training facility that is still operational today. Nevertheless, the military base has a grim legacy of water contamination.
In 1953, the drinking water supplied by two of the eight distribution plants at the installation became contaminated with volatile organic compounds, specifically trichloroethylene, benzene, vinyl chloride, and perchloroethylene.
The water source at Hadnot Point, which began operating in 1942, serving the mainside barracks, the Hospital Point family housing, and the family housing at Midway Park, Paradise Point, and Berkeley Manor until 1972, had a trichloroethylene level of 1,400 ppb when the maximum permissible limit is only 5 ppb. The water source at Tarawa Terrace, which began operating in 1952, serving the family housing with the same name and the Knox trailer park until 1987, had a perchloroethylene concentration of 215 ppb when the safe limit is also 5 ppb.
Perhaps the most significant source of toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune was the nearby dry-cleaning firm ABC One-Hour Cleaners, which encompassed a site of approximately one acre. The dry-cleaning firm was located roughly two miles southeast of the military base. Because of the improper disposal of industrial solvents, ABC One-Hour Cleaners ended up polluting the groundwater of Camp Lejeune, unwittingly endangering the health of everyone stationed there. More than one million people were exposed to toxic chemicals until 1987, which can now result in cancer, birth defects, and other serious health issues.
Despite many water quality studies, leadership failed to report the dangers of drinking water at Camp Lejeune for decades. It was only in 1982 that the U.S. Marine Corps found volatile organic compounds lurking in the drinking water at the military base. Service members and their families drank, took baths, brushed their teeth, did their dishes, and washed their clothes with water contaminated with chemicals as high as 3,400 times the safe levels. Over 70 other toxic chemicals have since been identified in the drinking water, in addition to volatile organic compounds.
The following is a timeline of the water testing performed at Camp Lejeune during the last century:
Even with so many awful health conditions developing after veterans and their families were exposed to toxic drinking water, many are hesitant to file a claim. Many veterans never pursue the benefits they might be entitled to because they think their claim will be denied or it will take years to get approved. Others do not file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim because they feel that they are not as ill as other veterans. However, it is advantageous to pursue a claim, both under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and with the VA, to receive disability compensation, as veterans can receive the healthcare they deserve and money that can help with medical expenses.
If you are a Camp Lejeune veteran or a family member of one who spent time at the military base while the drinking water was toxic and now struggle with a disease, we encourage you to contact Atraxia Law, as our team of professionals can easily help you determine whether you are entitled to financial compensation. Because we understand how physically and emotionally draining suffering from a serious health problem can be, we will go to great lengths to simplify the process of assessing your case for you, which will mostly take place over the phone.
With over 35 years of experience in evaluating toxic exposure claims, our expert team is ready to help you find out whether you are eligible to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination claim. The only documents we will need to review your case are your military records or evidence of your stay at the military base and your medical records. If you are entitled to financial compensation, we will put you in touch with a reliable attorney.