What Led To The Water Contamination At Camp Lejeune?

Any water contamination has the potential to be devastating. Many health issues can be brought about by consuming contaminated water, including some that the victim may not be aware of for many years. Sadly, this all-too-powerful reality evolved into a manner of living for Marine corps who were deployed to Camp Lejeune from 1952 to 1987.

 

Unfortunately, the cause of the Camp Lejeune contamination significantly increased the likelihood of experiencing serious health issues. The VA is aware of several illnesses, such as liver cancer, adult leukemia, kidney cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and bladder cancer, that could be brought on by exposure to polluted water. Guardsmen, Veterans, and reservists stationed at Camp Lejeune during the period may have been exposed to these dangerous chemicals to a significant extent.

What Led to Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination?

From the 1950s to the 1980s, the water supply at Camp Lejeune had several potentially harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, it took the Marine Corps until 1982 to identify the high levels of these solvents in two of the base’s eight treatment facilities. Families who lived on base or frequently visited may have experienced consistent, higher exposure to these compounds while the Marines worked and lived there. This is essentially what caused Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits recently being filed.

Water Plant at Hadnot Point

There were several potential contaminants in the Hadnot Point Water Plant, which supplied water to the medical center and most Holcomb Boulevard buildings. Due to the numerous contaminants in the water and the various possible sources for these volatile compounds, identifying the causes of the pollution in that region proved to be much more difficult.

 

First, the Hadnot Point supply had high amounts of TCE toxins.

 

The high percentage of TCE toxins may have been caused by several factors, including:

 

  • Spills that may have occurred on-base that Officers may have merely swept away without spending the time to clean up properly. Depending on the situation at the period, on-base spills might not have gotten the significant attention they deserved.
  • Leakages from underground tanks and drums may have contaminated the Hadnot Point Purification Plant’s supply wells and the surrounding groundwater.
  • It’s possible that local dumps did not use proper disposal techniques or sufficiently contain dangerous chemicals. These substances might have seeped into the underground water, passed through the storage facility, and entered the base’s water supply.

The Water Treatment Facility at Tarawa Terrace

Testing at the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant revealed that the water contained significant amounts of perchloroethylene. Further research revealed that ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a dry-cleaning business located off-base, used unsafe disposal procedures for the synthetic waste produced during the cleaning. The firm might have also spilled a lot of chemicals which could have contributed to groundwater contamination. Beginning in 1953, ABC One-Hour Cleaners’ laundry operations may have contributed to local groundwater pollution. It’s possible that as production has increased over time, contamination has grown.

Who Is To Blame For The Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?

Unfortunately, over 30 years may have passed before testing revealed whether toxic substances had contaminated the water at Camp Lejeune. It may be more challenging to determine who is responsible for each component of the contamination because there were multiple sources.

 

Because the service members did not conduct sufficient experiments on the water at Camp Lejeune and also because of the high level of exposure that arose during the service member’s time in the military, the VA has provided benefits for cancers that may have developed as a result of exposure to those volatile chemicals. 

 

The substantial healthcare benefits include assistance for miscarriages, leukemia, potential behavioral effects of chemical exposure, breast, bladder, lung, kidney, or esophageal cancer. 

 

Veterans who experienced severe disability as a result of the toxins and exposure may also be eligible for disability benefits from the VA.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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