Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
In 1985, it was discovered that the water supply at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune near Jacksonville, NC, was contaminated with toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including PCE (perchloroethylene), TCE (trichloroethylene), vinyl chloride, and benzene. These chemical compounds have been linked to serious illnesses and health conditions, including various types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and reproductive issues.
If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune anytime between August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987, and you were later diagnosed with cancer or another severe health condition, you might be entitled to pursue a claim against the federal government.
Contact a Camp Lejeune lawsuit attorney at Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP today for a free consultation to discuss your case and legal options. You can reach us by phone at (205) 324-1212.
Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Water contamination primarily occurred at two water treatment facilities at Camp Lejeune, the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant and the Hadnot Point water treatment plant.
At the Tarawa Terrace water treatment facility, wells were found to be contaminated with the chemical PCE. PCE is colorless and odorless, and is frequently used as a dry cleaning agent. In fact, the source of the water contamination at the Tarawa Terrace facility was discovered to be a nearby dry cleaning company called ABC One-Hour Cleaners. The company was negligent when disposing of their toxic waste, and chemicals like PCE eventually made their way into the groundwater. Most of the highly contaminated wells at the Tarawa Terrace facility were retired in February 1985, when rigorous testing revealed significantly elevated levels of the compound.
The water at the Hadnot Point water treatment facility was also thoroughly tested in early 1985. It was found to be contaminated with dangerously high levels of TCE, along with other chemical compounds like PCE, DCE (dichloroethylene), vinyl chloride, and benzene. The VOCs discovered at the Hadnot Point water treatment plant had a variety of sources, from leaking subterranean fuel tanks to hazardous waste disposal and spills. The wells with the highest levels of contamination at Hadnot Point were shut down in early 1985 around the same time as the contaminated wells at the Tarawa Terrace facility.
Persons living or working in areas serviced by the Holcomb Boulevard water treatment facility may also have been exposed to contaminated water at intervals from 1972 to 1985. When demand was high, the Holcomb Boulevard treatment plant would sometimes receive supplemental water from the Hadnot Point facility.
Tragically, more than 30 years passed between when the contamination began and when the affected wells were finally retired. During that time, the government failed to conduct thorough water testing and allowed the water contamination to go on unabated, putting an untold number of people at risk of severe illness.
Health Issues Caused by Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
The four main VOCs found in the water supply at Camp Lejeune have been tied to numerous severe health conditions and diseases, including:
- Breast cancer
- Liver cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Lung cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s disease
- Neurobehavioral issues
- Hepatic steatosis
- Decreased fertility
- Birth defects
- Renal toxicity
- Liver disease
If you have been diagnosed with any of the above conditions and believe that it may be connected to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune, you could soon have a legal right to hold negligent parties – including the federal government – accountable for their misconduct.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Until recently, victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune have been prevented from taking legal action against the government by North Carolina’s 10-year statute of repose on polluters.
Unlike the statute of limitations in a civil case, the legal clock on the statute of repose begins ticking when the negligent party first engages in misconduct. In other words, North Carolina’s statute of repose passed roughly 20 years before the water at Camp Lejeune had ever been thoroughly tested. For decades, anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer or other serious conditions due to the water contamination on the base had no legal path to hold the negligent parties responsible.
However, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, if signed into law, will change that. Anyone who was diagnosed with one of the above conditions after living at the base during the specified time frame could be eligible to file a lawsuit against the government in federal court. This would allow victims to seek financial relief for economic and non-economic losses they have suffered over the years because of illnesses related to toxic exposure at the facility.
The Senate passed its version of the act on June 16, 2022, which must then be passed by the House of Representatives before it is sent to President Biden‘s desk for signature. Under the 2012 Janey Ensminger Act, veterans and family members who were diagnosed with specific health conditions after living at Camp Lejeune are allowed to seek health care benefits through Veterans Affairs, but never before have any veterans, family members, or civilian staff members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune been able to pursue compensation through the courts.
Contact a Birmingham Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Attorney Today
Were you diagnosed with cancer or another serious condition after living or working at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987? Under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, you could be entitled to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses you suffered.
At Farris, Riley & Pitt, LLP, our Camp Lejeune lawyers are prepared to begin taking related lawsuits as soon as the bill is signed into law. We have the experience and resources to help you gather evidence for your case, navigate the legal process, and pursue the financial relief that you deserve. Contact us today at (205) 324-1212 to schedule a consultation with our office.