Camp Lejeune Tragedy

Water contamination, industrial negligence, lawsuits, and death. Is this the legacy of Camp Lejeune? Over the years, you might have seen multiple articles trying to justify what happened at this military base. Let’s face it. The water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated due to illegal waste disposal methods by the government. 

As of this writing, there have been over 100,000 claims made by the workers and former residents of the base. Erin Brockovich, the famous consumer advocate, has joined the fight, too. 

Today, the American government is trying its best to amend these mistakes. For instance, the Biden administration passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in 2022. Due to this, the government cannot assert immunity from any Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation. 

In this blog, we will take a closer look at the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident, health issues, and legal proceedings. 

How Was the Water at Camp Lejeune Contaminated? 

Camp Lejeune is a military base located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. It is home to 170,000 civilians and military personnel. The 156,000-acre camp generates over USD 3 billion in revenue. 

During the 1980s, an inspection of the water-treatment plants revealed shocking results at this camp. Researchers found high industrial solvent and volatile organic compound (VOC) levels in the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. These water-treatment plants contained perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE). 

Both plants supplied water to family housing, base administrative offices, recreational centers, and schools. Moreover, Hadnot Point served hospitals and industrial areas. People living and working there were exposed to toxic elements for over thirty years. Exposure to PCE and TCE can harm your nervous, immune, and reproductive systems. 

But what caused the contamination of these plants right under the nose of the U.S. military? An off-base dry cleaning company used chemical degreasers containing PCE and TCE. This company had government approval to dispose of waste products in the surrounding lakes. 

Hence, the chemicals seeped into the ground and mixed with the water in the treatment plants. Along with inappropriate disposals, the company hid chemical spill incidents. Studies show that the contamination began in 1953 and stopped in 1987 when the treatment plants were closed. 

Additionally, on-base sources also contributed to the contamination. For instance, an unaccounted industrial spill or leak from underground storage tanks. There were also toxins from fire training areas, open storage pits, and transformer storage lots on the base. 

Health Issues Associated With Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

The victims were innocent infants, children, enlisted families, veterans, civilian workers, youngsters, and unmarried service personnel. These individuals lost their quality of life due to government negligence and corporate greed. It was the U.S. government’s job to ensure the supply of safe drinking water

However, the government failed the Camp Lejeune residents. All the victims did was live their everyday lives. They drank the supplied water, bathed in it, and inhaled the chemicals while dishwashing. Additionally, they swam in toxic water during training. 

As a result, they developed severe health issues such as: 

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) 
  • Female infertility 
  • Multiple myeloma 
  • Low birth weight 
  • Renal toxicity
  • Bladder, breast, esophageal, cervical, prostate, liver, rectal, and lung cancer 
  • Adult leukemia
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 
  • Hepatic steatosis 
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes 
  • Parkinson’s disease 
  • Scleroderma 

Furthermore, veterans suffered neurobehavioral effects. They developed fatigue, tremors, and difficulty walking. Moreover, in the first month of exposure, the victims had diarrhea, nausea, etc. 

The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit 

The government received criticism and was part of the controversy after the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident went public. Of course, the residents exposed to contaminated water developed life-threatening health issues. Some include cancer and neurological problems. They stated how unsafe they felt living in the safest community in America. 

The victims and their families wanted justice. As a result, they filed a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. It soon became one of the biggest federal class action lawsuits. According to the latest Camp Lejeune lawsuit update, the plaintiffs and defendants have started cooperating. The plaintiffs and the accused have collaborated on establishing and optimizing the documents to find a manageable solution. 

TorHoerman Law states that anyone who lived in Camp Lejeune for thirty days between 1953 and 1987 is eligible for the settlement. These victims received decades of claim denials, even after showing proof. 

They had almost given up, but the Biden administration brought hope in 2022 by introducing the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This allowed every victim to file a claim and receive compensation based on the severity of their health issues. 

The Bottom Line

In February 2023, over 100 new lawsuits were filed by victims thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. According to the Camp Lejeune Claims Center website, the water at this military base poisoned over one million residents. 

They filed lawsuits and took the legal route for justice. Some have received hefty amounts, while others are waiting on updates. The legal industry believes the individual payouts will be between USD 10,000 and USD 500,000. 

But can the money from legal proceedings help them get over the incident? Of course not. The victims’ lives will forever remain entangled with the unfortunate event at the camp.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here