Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base, used eight water distribution plants over the years. These plants treat and supply water to every area of Camp Lejeune, including housing for the enlisted members and their families.
Unfortunately, some of these plants contaminated the water supply. The contamination lasted decades and affected multiple water distribution plants the base used. The water’s contaminated materials have also been linked to the development of diseases and various medical issues.
As a result, many people who lived at Camp Lejeune during a certain time could be eligible to sue for compensation and benefits. Here is what former residents of the base need to know.
When did the Water Contamination Occur at Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune’s water supply first suffered contamination in the early 1950s. The toxic water continued to be an issue until the late 1980s. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimates that as many as 1 million people, including enlisted Marines, civilian staff, and their family members, could have encountered exposure to these contaminants.
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What Chemicals did Authorities Find in Camp Lejeune’s Water?
The plants were primarily contaminated with four chemicals:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride
Most of these are environmental contaminants, and some are carcinogens. All these materials can adversely affect the health of the people exposed. Camp Lejeune residents could be exposed through their drinking water and other water sources, such as the water they used to shower or bathe with.
Which Camp Lejeune Plants Were Affected?
Ultimately, three Camp Lejeune water distribution plants were contaminated. Affected plants included:
Hadnot Point Water Distribution Plant
This water distribution system began operating in 1942 and supplied water to many parts of Camp Lejeune, including the barracks and some family housing. The primary contaminant found at this plant was TCE, and its presence was linked to leaking waste disposal sites and underground storage tanks.
Tarawa Terrace Water Distribution Plant
This plant served some of the housing and had its water supply primarily contaminated by PCE. The issue was a nearby business, ABC One-Hour Cleaners, and its improper disposal of cleaning chemicals and other substances.
Holcomb Boulevard Water Distribution Plant
This plant also helped supply some of the base’s housing with water. Unfortunately, some of the materials that contaminated the Hadnot Point plant also began to leech into this plant’s water supply, spreading the contamination to more people residing at Camp Lejeune.
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Which Illnesses Were Linked to the Contaminated Water?
Authorities have linked contaminated drinking water to several diseases. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), those exposed to these contaminants may have developed:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Miscarriages and female infertility
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Renal toxicity
- Parkinson’s disease
Any of these diseases can result in hefty medical bills, plenty of pain and suffering, and even death of the afflicted. If you believe that you or a loved one have suffered from one of these diseases due to Camp Lejeune and its water distribution plants, you may be able to file a claim and pursue compensation.
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Who Can Pursue Compensation for Camp Lejeune-Related Illnesses?
People who lived at Camp Lejeune for a certain time could pursue compensation. Enlisted or formerly enlisted marines need to show that:
- They served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987.
- They have not received a dishonorable discharge.
Family members of Marines who lived on the base can also apply for benefits. They need to show evidence that:
- They lived at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987.
- They have a relationship with someone in the U.S. military.
Those enlisted can use evidence like copies of their orders or housing records. Family members can use documents like marriage licenses or birth certificates to show their relationship to someone ordered to live at that base.
Anyone applying for benefits also needs to show that they have a medical condition that can be linked to the contamination at Camp Lejeune and that they have paid for medical care relating to these conditions.
Our Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help With a Camp Lejeune Case
An attorney can help you navigate this process and secure the benefits you’re looking for. Your lawyer can:
- Help you gather the necessary documentation to prove your Camp Lejeune-related illnesses.
- Answer your questions.
- Keep you updated on recent changes in legislation that could affect your benefits.
If you believe you could recover benefits due to your time living at Camp Lejeune, contact Van Law today for a free consultation. We can review your potential case and help determine how the water at Camp Lejeune’s distribution plants affected your health or a loved one’s health.
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