The Camp Lejeune water contamination incident has been a long-standing environmental and public health concern, affecting thousands of military personnel and their families. The discovery of toxic chemicals, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other pollutants, in the base’s water supply, has raised serious questions about the impact on the health and well-being of those stationed there.
In the pursuit of truth and justice, extensive contamination tests have been carried out to understand the extent of the contamination and its consequences.
Ongoing Cases, Progress, and Key Findings
As of the latest Camp Lejeune lawsuit update, the Navy has reported an estimated 60,000 claims filed under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, highlighting the significant impact of the water contamination incident at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
According to TorHoerman Law, to oversee the legal proceedings, judges have selected attorneys from various law firms to form a seven-member leadership team, representing the plaintiffs.
This team will play a crucial role in managing settlement discussions, discovery processes, selecting cases for bellwether trials, and ensuring communication with the public concerning the more than 70,000 administrative claims.
The enactment of the PACT Act, signed by President Joe Biden in August of the prior year, has established a compensation claims process specifically designed for individuals affected by water contamination between 1953 and 1987, attributed to the Navy.
With ongoing cases continuously being filed, the litigation is progressing following the government’s acknowledgment of the Camp Lejeune water contamination. The formation of the leadership team is a crucial step in effectively managing and advancing the ongoing legal proceedings related to the issue.
In the aftermath, contamination tests and their results play a vital role in investigating the cases and determining fair compensation for those affected. Agencies like the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), and the United States Navy are taking charge of ensuring thorough and comprehensive testing to assess contamination levels and potential health risks.
These collaborative efforts aim to establish the extent of water contamination at Camp Lejeune and its impact on the health of military personnel and their families, ultimately seeking justice and resolution for those affected.
In this article, we will explore the different contamination tests that have been conducted in the Camp Lejeune water contamination case and their significance in seeking accountability and resolution.
Initial Water Sampling
The initial step in addressing the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune involved conducting tests at the Tarawa Terrace water treatment facility. This facility, one of two major treatment plants responsible for providing clean water to the residents of Tarawa Terrace within Camp Lejeune, was originally designed to ensure safe drinking water.
However, in a distressing turn of events, it was found that the water treated and distributed by this facility became severely contaminated within a short span of time, posing significant health risks to those who relied on it for their drinking water needs.
In 1980 and 1981, the Marine Corps conducted drinking water sampling at Camp Lejeune, following EPA standards, to test for specific chemicals. However, the testing results were affected by the interference of “other chemicals.”
In the subsequent year, 1982, the Marine Corps identified two contaminants, trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE or perchloroethylene), present in the water supply of two out of eight water treatment plants on the base – Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment facilities. The levels of these chemicals exceeded the EPA standards for safe drinking water.
Conducting epidemiological studies played a significant role in evaluating the health effects of the contaminated water on the military personnel and their families. By analyzing medical records and health data, researchers sought to establish potential correlations between exposure to contaminated water and specific health conditions, such as cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders.
As part of the response to the Camp Lejeune water contamination, individual health assessments were conducted to comprehensively evaluate the health status of affected individuals and identify any potential health issues linked to the toxic water.
These thorough assessments encompassed medical examinations, health interviews, and laboratory tests. The aim was to determine if there were any adverse health effects that could be attributed to the exposure to the contaminated water.
In light of these assessments, the report revealed that Marines stationed at Lejeune faced an elevated risk of mortality from all types of cancer, estimated to be approximately 10 percent higher compared to the general population.
Ongoing groundwater monitoring was crucial in tracking the movement and spread of contaminants over time. By regularly testing groundwater in and around Camp Lejeune, authorities could better understand how the contamination was spreading and inform their response strategies.
As part of their role in the joint venture contract with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Geo-Solutions, the subcontractor, was responsible for conducting in-situ soil remediation. To comprehensively assess the potential risks of exposure to hazardous substances resulting from soil contamination, extensive soil testing was undertaken.
Soil samples were collected from various locations within the base to measure the levels of pollutants present and evaluate their impact on environmental health. This rigorous soil testing process aimed to provide valuable insights into the extent and severity of soil contamination, informing the subsequent soil remediation efforts carried out by Geo-Solutions.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination case remains an ongoing effort to seek justice and support those affected by the toxic water supply. Through rigorous tests, researchers and experts have strived to uncover the truth and determine the extent of the impact on the lives of military personnel and their families.
These comprehensive investigations are not only essential in holding responsible parties accountable but also in providing support and care to those who have suffered as a result of this environmental tragedy.
The lessons learned from this case will hopefully pave the way for more proactive measures to prevent such incidents in the future and protect the health and well-being of military communities and the general public.