Located in North Carolina, Camp Lejeune is a prominent United States Marine Corps base that had significant water contamination issues. The contamination primarily affected two key sites: the Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Facility and the Hadnot Point Water Treatment Facility, along with their surrounding areas.
The cause of water contamination at Camp Lejeune was attributed to the illegal and improper dumping of harmful chemicals. Dry cleaning chemicals from ABC One-Hour Cleaners and leaky underground storage barrels containing weapon cleaning materials released harsh chemicals into the water. The contamination resulted in numerous health issues and illnesses among exposed individuals, with long-term exposure linked to various diseases, including cancers, birth defects, and other serious conditions.
If you or a loved one have experienced symptoms or illnesses that may be connected to the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident, you should file a claim with us. We are committed to fighting for the compensation you rightfully deserve. Contact our Camp Lejeune lawyers now to get a free case evaluation.
What Caused the Water Contamination at Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant?
The Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant at Camp Lejeune experienced water contamination due to the improper disposal of perchloroethylene (PCE), a solvent used in the dry cleaning process, by ABC One-Hour Cleaners, a nearby dry cleaning business.
The chemicals leaked into the groundwater and reached the wells that supplied water to the treatment plant. Additionally, the septic tank system on the cleaners’ property released the chemical into the soil and groundwater, while some PCE was also buried onsite. This contamination ultimately affected the water supply of Tarawa Terrace, a housing community with 6,200 residents, causing significant harm and health risks.
What Caused the Water Contamination at Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant?
The water contamination at the Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant in Camp Lejeune was a complex issue involving multiple sources and contaminants. The primary contaminant found in the wells was trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent commonly used for cleaning metal parts during manufacturing processes, which has been detected since monitoring began in the 1980s. The TCE contamination likely resulted from on-base spills at industrial sites and leaks from underground storage tanks and drums at dumps and storage lots. The military’s inadequate disposal of products containing trichloroethylene and benzene, used for cleaning weapons and equipment, also contributed to the water contamination. The Hadnot Point water system supplied barracks, recreational areas, schools, and the hospital on the base.
Gross Negligence Played a Factor in Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination
Gross negligence played a significant role in Camp Lejeune’s water contamination, putting numerous individuals at risk. Until the 1980s, water testing was not conducted in the area, and the denial of research by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) further hindered awareness of the issue. The Marine Corps claimed for two decades that the chemicals found in the drinking water were not regulated.
However, while the EPA did not regulate organic solvents like perchloroethylene (PCE) in the early 1980s, the Department of Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery, which had regulations in place at the base, prohibited harmful substances in water. The dangers associated with organic solvents were well known, as evidenced by a 1974 regulation at Camp Lejeune highlighting the safe disposal of hazardous wastes, including organic solvents, and warning of their potential to contaminate drinking water. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps did not provide this regulation or other Navy rules to investigators reviewing the water contamination.
Efforts have been made to rectify the situation at Camp Lejeune. The EPA listed the base on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in 1989, signifying its status as a highly contaminated site requiring cleanup. A Federal Facility Agreement was established in 1991 between the EPA, the Navy, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) to oversee cleanup activities. ABC One-Hour Cleaners was also demolished. Steps have been taken to clean up and monitor soils and groundwater, implement institutional controls to prevent contamination, and conduct periodic reviews of all cleanup actions. The EPA, Navy, and NCDEQ continue to work together to protect people and the environment from the site’s contamination.
Harmed By Camp Lejeune Water? You May Be Eligible for Compensation.
The water contamination at Camp Lejeune’s Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point was caused by the improper disposal of harmful chemicals, such as perchloroethylene (PCE) from ABC One-Hour Cleaners and trichloroethylene (TCE) from military activities, which led to the contamination of the drinking water supply. The negligence and lack of proper regulations in the past have put numerous individuals at risk and caused severe health consequences.
If you or a loved one have experienced symptoms or illnesses that could be connected to Camp Lejeune water contamination, it’s time to get a free case review with disabledvets.com. We are dedicated to helping affected individuals seek justice and pursue rightful compensation for the harm caused by this tragic event. Contact our expert Camp Lejeune lawyers today to get a free, no-obligation case review.