ABOUT CAMP LEJEUNE
Camp Lejeune is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, and was established in 1942 as a United States Military training facility. It exists to provide marine training and amphibious assault training, ideally situated with access to the coast. The Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River, adjacent to Camp Lejeune, is a helicopter and tilt-rotor base and supports combat readiness to the Marine Corps Aviation Combat Element and Department of Defense units. These two bases sit on either side of the New River on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. They were serviced by eight water treatment plants.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE WATER AT CAMP LEJEUNE?
In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered toxins in the water from two water treatment facilities, Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point. The source of the toxins could be traced back to both on-base spills and underground storage leaks, as well as improper disposal of chemicals used at an off-base dry cleaner. These water treatment plants provided water to housing, offices, schools, recreational areas, and the base hospital.
Four major water contaminants were identified: trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PCE), benzene, and vinyl chloride. TCE and PCE are volatile organic compounds used as solvents, to clean machine parts, and in dry cleaning. Benzene is used as a component in other chemicals in manufacturing nylon, plastics, and some detergents and pesticides. Vinyl chloride is a polyvinyl chloride (PVC) component used to make pipes and packing materials.
The on-base wells contaminated with these toxins were closed in February 1985. However, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases estimates that the toxin levels exceeded EPA standards for drinking water starting in approximately November 1957. Thirty years of hazardous drinking water have affected one million people who lived on or visited the base and air station.
WHAT STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN FOR THOSE AFFECTED BY THE WATER AT CAMP LEJEUNE?
In 2021 Congress created a bill called the Honoring Our PACT Act. This bill contains a section called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which was signed into law by the President. Any service member, family member, worker, or other personnel on the base for at least 30 days and with a condition resulting from the toxins can file a claim.