Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina has led to a series of lawsuits for illnesses derived from exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). An estimated one million Marines, sailors and their families as well as civilian employees who lived on the base between 1953 and 1987, unknowingly drank, cooked, and bathed in contaminated water. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, the Marine Corps became aware that certain water treatment facilities on the base had been distributing contaminated water in 1982.
Our legal team at Krause & Kinsman is dedicated to helping Camp Lejeune victims of toxic exposure get the compensation they are entitled to. Below is a timeline of important events pertaining to the Camp Lejeune water contamination. Use this as a reference to determine if you or a loved one may be eligible for compensation in the ongoing Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
Veterans and their families as well as others who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune during the time period between 1853 and 1987 and developed medical conditions listed below may be eligible for disability benefits or other compensations.
Water contamination at Camp Lejeune
Health conditions that have been attributed to exposure to the Camp Lejeune water contamination include:
Volatile Organic Compounds
Camp Lejeune Timeline
Camp Lejeune opens
The Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune was established in 1941 and opened for operations in 1942 and was located in Onslow County in North Carolina.
Water treatment plant at Tarawa Terrace Opens
Hadnot Point water system is found to be contaminated
Tarawa Terrace contamination begins
Operations begin at the Holcomb Boulevard Water treatment facility
In 1972, a new Water System began operations to serve areas, including Paradise Point, Midway Park and Berkeley Manor.
These areas were previously supplied with water from the Hadnot Point System. Water from this system was considered safe; unfortunately, the system was sometimes supplemented with contaminated water from the Hadnot Point facility. Persons served by this water system may have still been exposed to the contaminants.
EPA Standards are released
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a set of limits at which drinking water is considered contaminated.
In 1979, safe limits of the chemicals Trihalomathanes (THM) used in the water treatment process and Trichloroethylene (TCE)-A cleaning solvent and degreaser were established. In 1980, safe level of the chemical known as PCE-Another chemical solvent was added to the EPAs standards.
Camp Lejeune water is tested, revealing contamination
Per the EPA standards, the Marine Corps began testing drinking water at the base in 1980 and 1981. Specifically Testing for THMs, the U.S. Marine Corp reported interference of the test results due to other chemicals being present in the samples.
Camp Lejeune water is found to be contaminated
After additional testing of the camp’s water treatment facilities, TCE and PCE were detected at levels above the EPA standard for safe drinking water at two of the eight water treatment plants.
Investigation and clean-up efforts
Knowing that contamination at the camp was an issue, an investigation initiated by the department of the Navy began to determine which treatment systems and drinking water wells were contaminated.
Contaminated drinking water wells shut down
The 10 water wells considered “Most Contaminated) were shut down by 1985. It wasn’t until 1987 that the contamination issue was considered to be sufficiently resolved. Veterans and
their families were no longer deemed to be exposed to contaminants for the
purpose of disability benefits.
The Safe Drinking Water Act is amended
In 1987, regulations pertaining to TCE, vinyl chloride and benzene are published in the Federal Register after being detected at unsafe levels in the Camp Lejeune water systems. The amendments became effective in 1989.
Former residents are notified of possible exposure
17 years after the water at Camp Lejeune was first found to be contaminated, The Marine Corp finally began notifying veterans, active duty personnel and their families of their potential exposure to the toxic water.
The signing of the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012
Under this new legislation, signed into law by then President Barrack Obama.
Compensation Claims begin
In January of 2017, The Department of Veterans affairs began accepting claims for compensation for victims of exposure at Camp Lejeune.
A $2.2 Billion dollar Fund was set aside to cover claims over the next five years. Due to several legal technicalities and loopholes, some veterans and their families were denied their rightful compensation, despite their continuing medical hardships due to their exposure to toxic contaminates.
During this same time, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry published its assessment of the evidence pertaining to contaminated drinking water being the cause of specific diseases, including several cancers.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
On June 16, 2022, House Resolution 6482 commonly referred to as The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 passed the Senate and now awaits President Joe Bidens signature making it into law. This legislation closes some of the loopholes formerly used to derail efforts to receive compensation. Expectations are high that the president will sign the bill into law, allowing many whose cases were previously denied the opportunity to receive their fair settlements. If signed into law, the bill will also prohibit the government from “Asserting Specified Immunity” from Camp Lejeune lawsuits.