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Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Contamination Lawsuit

Camp Lejeune Water Contamintion

For decades, toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina exposed U.S. service members and their families to chemicals that have the potential to cause serious health effects. You can pursue financial compensation for the harm sustained through exposure to toxic chemicals—and our attorneys can help by filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit on your behalf.

It costs nothing to learn about the claims process and your legal rights, and nothing upfront to move forward with a claim. Call (866) 778-5500 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Who Can Pursue Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Claims?

Generally, to be entitled to a Camp Lejeune water contamination settlement, you must meet the following criteria:

  • History of exposure: You must have been present on-site during the established Camp Lejeune water contamination dates, typically for at least 30 days, and
  • Documented health consequences: You must have been diagnosed with one of the recognized medical conditions that have been linked to exposure to the toxic chemicals with which the Camp Lejeune water supply was found to have been contaminated.

Different compensation programs and funds have been established for different types of claimants, and each program has its own restrictions regarding what types of damages are covered and what medical conditions are recognized consequences of exposure.

How you will proceed with your claim depends upon which of the following type of claimants you are considered:

  • Service member: Former or active-duty service Marines, Reservists, Guardsmen, and Veterans more generally
  • Service members’ dependents and family members who resided at Camp Lejeune
  • Civilian federal employees

Compensation is available, but getting the money you deserve is a complicated process—one from which you would benefit from having experienced professional legal representation.

What Is Camp Lejeune?

U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a military base where service members trained and were stationed, combat-ready and prepared for deployment, in service of our country.

Aside from the toxic water contamination issue, Camp Lejeune was known as “the Home of Expeditionary Forces in Readiness.”

Where Is Camp Lejeune Located?

Camp Lejeune base is located in Onslow County in southeastern North Carolina, adjacent to the New River and with its main entrance off of Highway 24, just east of the military town of Jacksonville, NC.

Who Is Stationed at Camp Lejeune?

Most service members stationed at Camp Lejeune were part of Marine Corps commands, including:

  • Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
  • II Marine Expeditionary Force
  • 2nd Marine Division
  • 2nd Marine Logistics Group

Additionally, Camp Lejeune was home to a major Navy command, which included the naval hospital Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune, and to a Coast Guard command.

In addition to service members (in the Marines, the Navy, and the Coast Guard) themselves, their families and dependents living in Camp Lejeune base housing were also put at risk of toxic water exposure, as were civilian employees working at the site.

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

Over the full course of the 35 years during which Camp Lejeune water is now known to have been contaminated, almost 1,000,000 people are estimated to have been exposed to toxic chemicals, according to Yale Law School.
The Camp Lejeune legal issues, which first came to light in the 1980s, arose out of decades-long contamination of the water supply on the military base.

In Camp Lejeune military housing and family housing, as well as commissary buildings, training and education centers, operations buildings, and other workplaces on the base, drinking water—as well as the water used for bathing, cooking, and other necessary purposes—was determined to have been contaminated by toxic chemicals.

When Was Camp Lejeune Water Contaminated?

At this time, water at Camp Lejeune is believed to have been contaminated as early as 1953. The United States Marine Corps Division of Public Affairs has reported that the water at Camp Lejeune has been safe to drink “since at least March 1987,” but programs currently in place as of 2022 allow for health care reimbursement for those living on the base through December 1987.

Learn more about Camp Lejeune history and water contamination timeline.

How Many Marines at Camp Lejeune Were Exposed to Toxic Chemicals in the Water Supply?

Over the full course of the 35 years during which Camp Lejeune water is now known to have been contaminated, almost 1,000,000 people are estimated to have been exposed to toxic chemicals, according to Yale Law School. This figure includes not only Marines, Navy Sailors, Guardsmen, and Reservists but also military family members living on the base and civilian employees working at the base.

The lengthy instance of water contamination that occurred at Camp Lejeune “is considered among the worst in U.S. history,” Yale Law School reported.

What Chemicals Are Involved in Camp Lejeune Exposure Cases?

The chemicals of concern in Camp Lejeune water contamination cases are certain types of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the specific VOCs found in the Camp Lejeune water supply during the time the water was contaminated include:

  1. Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  2. Tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene, or PCE)
  3. Vinyl chloride
  4. Benzene

How Was Camp Lejeune Water Contaminated?

What caused Camp Lejeune water contamination? According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), two of the eight water treatment plants located on the Camp Lejeune marine base were contaminated with toxic chemicals: the Tarawa Terrace plant and the Hadnot Point plant. Unfortunately, these sites accounted for two of the three water treatment plants that, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry reported, “have historically supplied finished water to the majority of family housing units at the Base.”

PCE was the primary contaminant discovered in water supplied by the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant, which served both family housing in the Tarawa Terrace area and the Knox trailer park. Improper waste disposal practices at the off-base dry cleaner ABC One-Hour Cleaners were later determined to be the source of water contamination at this treatment plant, according to the ATSDR. The PCE concentration in water from the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant is now believed to have exceeded the maximum level allowed by EPA guidelines from November 1957 through February 1987, based on data analysis and modeling.

At the Hadnot Point water treatment plant, TCE was the primary contaminant. Other contaminants PCE, benzene, vinyl chloride, and TCE degradation products trans-1,2-DCE (t-1,2-dichloroethylene) were also found in this water supply. A combination of industrial area spills, waste disposal sites, and leaking underground storage tanks led to levels of VOC contamination in water treated at this facility that exceeded EPA guidelines between August 1953 and January 1985. Hadnot Point distributed water to the Mainside barracks and Hospital Point family housing, as well as family housing in Paradise Point, Midway Park, and Berkeley Manor until another facility opened in 1972.

The third water treatment facility involved in water distribution to family housing, Holcomb Boulevard, didn’t open until 1972 and served the areas of Paradise Point, Midway Park, Watkins Village, and Berkeley Manor (and, after 1987, Tarawa Terrace). While Holcomb Boulevard wells “were generally not contaminated,” the ATSDR reported, contaminated water from the Hadnot Point water treatment plant did supplement drinking water from Holcomb Boulevard intermittently between 1972 and 1985, as well as during a Hadnot Point shutdown in 1985.

Injuries in Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Claims

Exposure to toxic chemicals, as can happen in instances of drinking water contamination, can put people at risk of a wide array of health conditions and complications. To move forward with a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, you must have a documented diagnosis of a type of medical condition that is linked with toxic chemical exposures, as shown by the results of scientific research studies.

Many of these lawsuits revolve around the link between the toxic chemicals contaminating the water at Camp Lejeune and cancer. Numerous types of cancer have been linked to these chemicals, as have other serious medical conditions.

Learn more about Camp Lejeune chemical exposure health consequences.

At a law firm that handles cases involving water contamination at Camp Lejeune, lawyers can investigate any links that exist between your medical conditions and the chemical exposures involved in Camp Lejeune water contamination and advise you of the legal rights and options that may be available to you.

Do You Need a Lawyer for a Camp Lejeune Toxic Water Lawsuit?

The extent of the water contamination at Camp Lejeune is clear, and numerous research studies have pointed to the severe health consequences that can result from exposure to these chemicals. Funds have been set aside specifically for the purpose of compensating individuals harmed by Camp Lejeune toxic water exposure, including a $2.2 billion Camp Lejeune fund established in 2017.

Yet, as Yale Law School reported, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “has denied the overwhelming majority of claims based on the Camp Lejeune water contamination.”

Getting the Camp Lejeune settlement you’re entitled to isn’t something that happens automatically. Filing a claim means undertaking the legal process, and every procedure and proceeding must be handled precisely to show that you are eligible for compensation and to document exactly how much money you should receive. If you’re going to navigate the complexities of the claims process and recover the full amount of compensation your family deserves, you’re going to need help from a knowledgeable Camp Lejeune lawyer.

No Fee Promise

Experienced injury attorneys are representing Camp Lejeune Veterans and their families on a no-win, no-fee basis, so that those who have sacrificed for our country can be made whole as fully as possible. You served for us, now let us serve you. Call (866) 778-5500 today or contact us online for a free, confidential case review.

NOTICE: If you were at Camp Lejeune from 1953-1987 you may have consumed toxic drinking water linked to serious health problems, including cancer. Contact Console & Associates at (866) 778-5500 to discuss your legal options, or submit a confidential Case Evaluation form here.