Everything You Should Know About
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
Camp Lejeune has been a hot topic of conversation this year, but it's not the first time many people have heard about water contamination at the military base. There have been several different instances where contaminated water was discovered at Camp Lejeune. Contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune remains a concern for many service members and their families who lived or worked on the base between 1953 and 1987.
What is the History of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?
In the early 1980s, the water at Camp Lejeune was discovered to be contaminated with several toxic chemicals, including solvents, fuels, pesticides, and other heavy metals. Many people who lived or worked on the base were exposed to contaminated water through their drinking water. Exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been linked with several serious health problems, including kidney disease, several different types of cancers, neurological disorders, and a wide range of other serious health problems. The contamination at Camp Lejeune was first discovered by a team of scientists working for the Environmental Protection Agency. The team found massive amounts of toxic chemicals in the groundwater on the base and the nearby water source called the Tar River.
Which Contaminants Were Found at Camp Lejeune?
The groundwater at Camp Lejeune was found to be contaminated with several toxic substances, including the following:
- TCE- Trichloroethylene and common solvents are used to clean the metal parts of airplanes and other military equipment.
- DCE- Dichloroethylene is created when TCE breaks down in the environment. DCE is believed to be more harmful to humans than TCE.
- Dioxin- A dangerous chemical found in the soil near the fuel tanks is believed to have come from burning the wood used to construct the tanks. Dioxin is a carcinogenic substance that can cause congenital disabilities and other developmental problems in children.
- Ethylbenzene- Another solvent found in high levels in the groundwater on the base.
- Benzene- A fuel found in high levels in the groundwater near the fuel tanks.
Click here to learn more about the chemicals found at Camp Lejeune.
Where Was the Contaminated Water Found at Camp Lejeune?
The source of the contamination was located at a fuel tank farm near the base's center. The fuel tanks were built out of wood and were lined with a substance called creosote, which is full of dangerous chemicals. Later tests found that creosote had failed to prevent the chemicals in the fuel from leaking out and into the ground below. The EPA determined that the contamination source was from two specific locations. The soil near the tanks and the groundwater below is at the fuel tank farm. In the early 1980s, the groundwater was contaminated with toxic chemicals at times higher than the maximum amount considered safe by the EPA.
Is the Water at Camp Lejeune Safe to Drink Now?
Unfortunately, there is no way to know if Camp Lejeune's water is safe to drink. The source of the contamination was removed from the base in the mid-1980s, but the groundwater was never cleaned up. One of the biggest problems with the contamination at Camp Lejeune is that it is tough to track down all the people exposed to it and warn them about the potential health risks. Because the contamination at Camp Lejeune was discovered so long after it started, it is nearly impossible to track down all people who may be at risk. The health problems caused by exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune can take years to develop and may not show up in a person's medical records until years after exposure. It's also challenging to track down former residents of Camp Lejeune because the military didn't keep accurate records at the time.
The contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune remains a source of concern for many service members and their families who lived or worked on the base between 1953 and 1987. This blog will explore some of the most commonly asked questions about the contamination at Camp Lejeune and what you can do to protect yourself if you were stationed there during that period.