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Camp Lejeune is a Marine base located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Between January 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, the water supply wells that fed the camp were severely contaminated by multiple sources:
- Leaking underground storage tanks
- Industrial area spills
- Wastewater disposal sites
Over a 34-year period, thousands of Marines, civilian contractors, and their families were exposed to this incredibly dangerous and toxic water. The families drank, cooked and bathed with this water. In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered specific volatile organic compounds that were provided by two of the eight water treatment plans on base. Most of the contaminated wells were shut down in 1985.
If you or someone you know was affected by the Camp Lejeune water contamination issue, you may be entitled to compensation for past, current and future medical bills, lost wages, quality of life and much more.
What caused the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
In the early 1980s, as required by new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards, the Marine Corps began monitoring Camp Lejeune water quality for volatile organic compounds (VOCs). According to the federal government, the Marine Corps didn’t discover VOCs until 1982. The two VOCs discovered were:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE): a metal degreaser.
- Perchloroethylene (PCE): a dry cleaning agent.
In addition to TCE and PCE, water supply sources were contaminated by benzene and vinyl chloride.
Source of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune received water from the Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant, Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant and Holcomb Boulevard Water Treatment Plant in North Carolina.
Primarily Camp Lejeune water contamination resulted from contaminants at Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. Holcomb Boulevard was mostly uncontaminated, except for when it received transfers from Hadnot Point between 1972-1985.
Tarawa Terrace water was contaminated with PCE and vinyl chloride. PCE is a colorless liquid, most commonly used for dry cleaning. It wound up in Tarawa Terrace as a result of waste disposal practices of an off-base dry cleaning company. The Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry (ATSDR) indicated that the Tarawa Terrace Treatment plant consistently exceeded EPA contaminated standards for PCE between 1957 and 1987.
Similarly, the Hadnot groundwater supply was contaminated with TCE, PCE and refined petroleum products such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylenes. The source of Hadnot Point groundwater contamination was largely underground storage tank leaks, industrial area spills and water disposal sites.
Side Effects of Contaminated Water Exposure
Currently, there is legislation making its way through Congress that will clear a path for Marine Corp Members, civilian contractors and their families who lived, served or worked at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days to recover monetary damages for several illnesses and health conditions.
Those diagnosed with one or more of the following may be able to pursue compensation:
- Esophageal cancer
- Breast cancer
- Aplastic Anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
- Female infertility
- Hepatic Steatosis (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease)
- Parkinson’s Disease
In addition, children born to mothers who drank the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune were four times more likely to develop birth defects, such as spina bifida. Further, these babies had a slightly elevated risk of childhood cancers.
It doesn’t matter how long ago you were diagnosed—a free consult with an attorney as soon as possible will help you determine if you, your spouse, or your children are eligible for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit.
What is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is a bipartisan bill that will permit those who were exposed to contaminated Camp Lejeune drinking water between 1953 and 1987 to file a claim. Claims will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
The bill was co-sponsored by five Democrats and four Republicans that aims to ensure those suffering illnesses and injuries after exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune will receive just compensation for their health conditions.
The bill has been rolled into the larger Honoring our PACT Act, a bill aimed at addressing toxic exposure during military service. The Pact ACT has passed the House of Representatives and is expected to receive Senate approval and be signed into law by President Biden.
Will I be able to file a claim under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act if I was denied before?
Yes. As long as it passes the Senate, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will override North Carolina’s statute of limitations for injury claims. Ultimately, the PACT ACT will allow those previously barred from seeking justice a two-year window to file a claim.
Will I need an attorney to file a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit?
Technically no. However, because these are incredibly complicated legal matters it’s important that you have a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side. These cases will involve an extensive amount of paperwork that requires expert knowledge of the law. Your attorney will know the right paperwork to file, medical records to submit, and other materials you’ll need for a successful claim.
Who will be eligible for a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Claim?
Anyone who lived, served, or worked on the Camp Lejeune base for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987. This includes adults, children, and even children who were in utero at the time.
Diagnosed with a condition listed above? If one of your parents was a Marine, ask your parents about your possible exposure to Camp Lejeune water.
The Carlson Law Firm is a Veteran-owned and operated law firm with several former Marines on our team. We are dedicated to defending the rights of our fellow military servicemembers.
Get the Help You Deserve
Justice for victims of Camp Lejeune contaminated water is long overdue. If you served, lived or worked on the Camp Lejeune base for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987, we can help.
Contact us at 800-359-5690 for a free consultation or use the chat feature to schedule your free consultation.