The United States Military is one of the largest employers in the nation and serving one’s country is a highly respectable and noble course of action. However, it is a profession that by its very nature is dangerous. Servicemen encounter some of the most dangerous locations on the planet. Sadly not all the dangers soldiers encounter are from hostile armies or nations. There are also situations where soldiers encounter danger due to negligence or simply human error. One such accident is the Camp Lejeune water contamination incident.
Due to various errors and causes, dangerous chemicals were released into the local water supplies that serviced Camp Lejeune. This exposed soldiers and their families to many dangerous substances. These substances are the root cause of several ailments, and you can find out more here about these conditions. The issues at Camp Lejeune occurred for decades from the 1950s until the 1980s when testing detected high water contamination levels. With such a large and long-term problem it is important to understand the background of these events and how they occurred.
Camp Lejeune: A Background
Camp Lejeune is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, a city with a diverse community in both the public and private sectors. As an important part of the community, the base has a close relationship with local residents, both enlisted and not. Open since 1941, the base is large and houses not just members of the military but also their families. The base operates its water system to provide water for drinking, cooking, bathing, and other personal uses by residents of the base.
Discover Of Contamination
In the early 1980s testing discovered an assortment of dangerous chemicals in various water supplies that provided water to Camp Lejeune. Two key areas of contamination that stand out include Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point.
- The water treatment plant that served Tarawa Terrace (a residential building) was found to contain dangerous amounts of PCE or perchloroethylene which are commonly used in the dry-cleaning industry. The source of PCE was found to be ABC One-Hour Cleaners an offbase laundry service provider. The cleaners did not store or dispose of their chemicals correctly which caused PCE to leak into the local groundwater.
- The Hadnot Point water treatment plan was contaminated by multiple dangerous chemicals with TCE (trichloroethylene) an industrial solvent being chief among them. Other chemicals found in water tests include vinyl chloride, benzene, PCE, and other TCE derivatives. Sources of groundwater contamination are many including industrial leaks from storage tanks, industrial spills, and improper waste disposal.
If You Or a Family Member Were Exposed to Dangerous Chemicals
The scope of the contamination was vast with contamination levels detected ranging from several hundred to several thousand degrees higher than what would be considered safe by the EPA. Added to this the prolonged exposure means numerous ailments may have been caused to those who served and lived at Camp Lejeune. In addition, the list of ailments caused by exposure to several volatile organic compounds is varied and includes numerous life-altering conditions such as several types of cancer. If you think your illness was caused by exposure to dangerous chemicals at Camp Lejeune reach out today to see what your next steps are.