The U.S. Marine Corps base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is home to some of the most extensive training facilities in the United States and plays a vital role in the country’s defense. It’s also where a major water contamination scandal unfolded over three decades ago. The Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit is a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the individuals exposed to the contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune military base.
The lawsuit alleges that the United States government is liable for the injuries and illnesses suffered by the plaintiffs as a result of the exposure to the contaminated water. The lawsuit is seeking damages for the injuries and illnesses suffered by the plaintiffs and for the costs of medical treatment and lost wages. This article will explain what has happened at Camp Lejeune, how it became contaminated, and what actions are taken to reduce future risks.
What is Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune is a United States Marine Corps installation located in the coastal city of Jacksonville, Duval County, North Carolina. It is home to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Marine Corps War College, and the Marine Corps Judge Advocate General’s School. It is also the home to the largest concentration of Marine Corps personnel outside the continental United States and is an important training facility.
Contamination of Camp Lejeune: A Timeline
In 1984, the Jacksonville Daily News reported that groundwater at Camp Lejeune contained high levels of chemicals, including several that had been linked to cancer. An investigation by the Department of the Army’s Criminal Investigative Division found that a leaking storage tank had contributed to the contamination. The contamination was traced to leaking toxic solvents into the soil and aquifers. Groundwater at the base was tested and found to have dangerous solvents and chemicals, including tetrachloroethylene, or TCP, a substance used to dry paint and carpets, and perchloroethylene, or PCE, a substance commonly found in dry-cleaning fluids. Contamination with PCE was discovered at Camp Lejeune in 1984. Since then, the amount of PCE in the water has decreased to below the EPA’s guidelines. More recently, the EPA reported that the level of PFAS found in the groundwater at Camp Lejeune has also decreased below the agency’s guidelines.
On April 2, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency released its final report on the investigation into the contamination at Camp Lejeune. The investigation also found that some of the contaminants found at high levels in the groundwater at Camp Lejeune had been detected in Virginia, where the treatment facilities used to receive the water supplied by the Camp Lejeune wells. However, they could not remove all the contaminants from the drinking water supply.
The Camp Lejeune contamination is not only a legacy issue for those who live near the base but for all those who support it and depend on it for their well-being. Those who live near Camp Lejeune face several challenges regarding getting safe drinking water. In addition, this contamination has made it difficult for those adversely affected to recover from the damage caused by it.