Water Contamination At Camp Lejeune

As reported by Reuters, water contamination at Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina has been linked to increased risk of birth defects and childhood cancers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry confirmed a long-suspected link between chemical contaminants in tap water at the Marine Corps base and serious birth defects such as spina bifida
  • It also showed a slightly elevated risk of childhood cancers including leukemia
  • surveyed the parents of 12,598 children born at Lejeune between 1968 and 1985, the year most contaminated drinking water wells causing water contamination at Camp Lejeune were closed
  • showed 106 cases of birth defects and childhood cancers were reported
  • water contamination at camp Lejeune linked to a number of sources including:
    • leaking underground storage tanks
    • industrial spills, and
    • an off-base dry cleaning firm
  • The Veterans Administration has already been providing disability compensation claims to the affected families and personnel exposed to the contaminated water causing water pollution at camp lejeune
  • Benzene contamination of soil and groundwater at Camp Lejeune has emerged as an important issue. ATSDR is currently reviewing relevant information and data about the sources of benzene contamination on base.
  • U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was established in 1942. In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water provided by two of the eight water treatment plants on base.
  • Water from the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant was contaminated by PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene). The source of the contamination was the waste disposal practices at ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry cleaning firm. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) modeled the contamination and determined that the Tarawa Terrace system had PCE levels that exceeded the current standard of 5 micrograms per liter (μg/L) for 346 months between November 1957 and February 1987. (Note: 1 μg/L of a drinking water contaminant is equivalent to 1 part per billion or ppb) The most contaminated wells were shut down in February 1985.
  • Water from the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant was contaminated primarily by TCE (trichloroethylene). Other contaminants in the drinking water included DCE (t-1,2-dichloroethylene), PCE and benzene. The system was contaminated by multiple sources: leaking underground storage tanks, industrial area spills, and waste disposal sites. ATSDR is currently modeling the Hadnot Point system.


At the Gooch Law Firm, we pride ourselves on providing our clients reliable representation for even the most challenging cases. If you have knowledge of an individual or company that is polluting the environment with toxic substances or if you believe you may have been harmed by a toxic substance or if you believe you have a birth defect or injury from water contamination, contact our office at 1.844.329.5955.


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