Decades ago, something awful happened at Camp Lejeune–people serving their country (and their families) were hurt by the contaminated water that supplied the Marine Corps base in North Carolina. Their loyalty and trust turned out to be costly for many people who lived and worked at the base.
If you’re a victim of this unfortunate incident and want to learn how to file a claim for Camp Lejeune water contamination with help of a Camp Lejeune settlement lawyer, this post will break down the contamination occurrence in detail so you can fully understand the circumstances at hand.
When Was the Camp Lejeune Contamination Date?
The potable water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987. For a span of more than thirty years, people were exposed to dangerous water. There’s not an exact date as to when the water of Camp Lejeune became contaminated–this happened over time as benzene, industrial solvents, and other chemicals seeped into Camp Lejeune’s water reserves.
Here’s a quick timeline of the Camp Lejeune water contamination disaster:
- 1941: The construction of Camp Lejeune, a military training facility, began in Onslow County, in the southeastern region of North Carolina.
- 1952: Tarawa Terrace, the primary source of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, became operational. At the same time, an off-base dry cleaning service named ABC One-Hour Cleaners adopted improper disposal practices. As a result, there were large spills of dangerous industrial chemicals into the Tarawa Terrace water system, contaminating it over an extended period of time.
- 1953: Hadnot Water Point System became operational. It was the second water source to supply the residents of Camp Lejeune. Later, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported that the water from this source was already contaminated when it was brought online.
- 1972: Holcomb Boulevard Water System was a third source that started to provide water to the residents of Camp Lejeune. This water was relatively safe; however, water from Holcomb Boulevard was mixed with water from Tarawa Terrace. Consequently, those who depended on this source were exposed to harmful chemicals from the cross-contamination.
- 1982: The Marine Corps discovered that the water at Camp Lejeune is contaminated.
- 1985: The most contaminated wells at Camp Lejeune were shut down by the government. By 1987, the tap water at Camp Lejeune was deemed safe for use.
What Contaminants Polluted Camp Lejeune’s Water?
According to the tests conducted, the chemicals contaminating Camp Lejeune’s water were trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC), and benzene. There were other harmful industrial chemicals in the water, as well, but these four colorless chemicals were present in large quantities. Their levels were 240 to 3,400 times permissible levels, as per legal safety standards.
Many of those who consumed this water developed serious illnesses in the years following exposure. These diseases include:
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple myeloma
- Aplastic anemia
- Adult leukemia
In addition, some people also struggled with female infertility, neurobehavioral disorders, renal issues, and repeated miscarriages.
What Is the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012?
The people of Camp Lejeune suffered immensely due to government negligence. If the water sources had been tested before supplying its residents, they wouldn’t have gotten sick. Therefore, the U.S. Department for Veterans Affairs (VA) created the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. Under this act, the VA offers free health care and treatments for multiple health problems (except dental) to those affected by the contamination.
The government encourages victims to apply for this program. However, you need to meet the eligibility criteria before you can take advantage of these services. The primary criteria for eligibility is having documentation showing that you lived or served in the Camp Lejeune region for at least thirty days between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Water Still Contaminated?
No–Camp Lejeune water is safe for consumption now.
Are They Shutting Down Camp Lejeune?
No–Camp Lejeune is still operational. However, the contaminated water sources at Camp Lejeune were closed.
Does the VA Offer Dental Issue Coverage?
The VA doesn’t offer dental coverage because there’s no evidence that the contaminated water caused dental issues.
If you or a loved one suffered serious illness or disease after residing at Camp Lejeune, be sure to contact an experienced attorney at Strom Law to better understand the viability of your case and the compensation you may be owed.