Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water

When did the Marines first learn about on-base contamination?

Camp Lejeune officials first became aware that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were interfering with the analysis of drinking water samples…

Camp Lejeune officials first became aware that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were interfering with the analysis of drinking water samples in 1981 that were being collected to comply with future drinking water standards. In 1982 and 1983, continued testing identified two VOCs--trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning solvent--in two water systems that served base housing areas, Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace. There were no regulatory standards at the time and Base officials did not know the source of VOCs; water treatment plants and piping infrastructure were investigated as the source. In 1984 and 1985, a Navy environmental program identified VOCs in some of the individual wells serving the Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace water systems. The affected wells were subsequently removed from service. Department of Defense (DOD) and North Carolina officials concluded that on- and off-base sources were likely to have caused the contamination.

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How many wells were taken out of service and when were they taken out of service?

From November 1984 to February 1985, eight Hadnot Point wells and two Tarawa Terrace wells were taken out of service…

From November 1984 to February 1985, eight Hadnot Point wells and two Tarawa Terrace wells were taken out of service due to sampling results indicating the presence of VOC's.

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Why didn't the Base investigate or turn off the wells when the contamination was first found?

When the VOCs first appeared as sample interference, Base officials began to investigate – starting with the sampling process, proceeding…

When the VOCs first appeared as sample interference, Base officials began to investigate – starting with the sampling process, proceeding to eliminate laboratory error, and finally exploring the water treatment plant and piping infrastructure as sources of the VOCs. In late 1984, the Base began receiving the results of the first round of sampling conducted as part of the Naval Assessment and Control of Installation Pollutants (NACIP) program. These results were the first indication the Base had that VOCs in the groundwater were impacting some of the drinking water wells. Base officials promptly shut down the wells.

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Why didn’t the Marine Corps take the wells out of service sooner?

The Marine Corps did not know that the chemicals were coming from the groundwater until well sampling began for another…

The Marine Corps did not know that the chemicals were coming from the groundwater until well sampling began for another environmental clean-up program in late 1984. As soon as it was discovered that the chemicals were moving into the wells, the wells were taken out of service.

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Of the 10 wells taken out of service, were any re-opened for use?

Nine of 10 wells taken out of service have been permanently demolished (piping removed and holes filled in). One well,…

Nine of 10 wells taken out of service have been permanently demolished (piping removed and holes filled in). One well, 652, was returned to service in 1993 following multiple clean samples. This well is in service today. Drinking water is checked for VOCs, quarterly (more frequently than required by law) to ensure water is not impacted.

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When did the Marine Corps begin notifying individuals?

Upon initial discovery of contamination in the wells in 1984, the Base Commanding General at the time sent a letter…

Upon initial discovery of contamination in the wells in 1984, the Base Commanding General at the time sent a letter to all residents. The Marine Corps also published news articles in the base paper and distributed press releases to local media.

In 1999, the Marine Corps conducted an outreach/mass media campaign to assist the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) in locating potential participants for the scientific study. This study population included parents that were pregnant while living in on-base housing from 1968 – 1985. To assist ATSDR with its recruiting efforts for the study, the Marine Corps distributed announcements to more than 3,500 media outlets (TV, daily & weekly newspapers), as well as releasing two (2) separate worldwide Marine Messages.

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What steps have you taken to prepare for notification as required in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)?

Over the past two years, several steps have been taken to notify those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune…

Over the past two years, several steps have been taken to notify those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune of the historic drinking water issue. To identify and inform these individuals, the Marine Corps developed an outreach response using multiple forms of communication and media.

  • Distributed print articles to more than 10,000 newspapers nationwide
  • Created radio spots distributed to more than 6,500 radio stations
  • Developed online advertising for consumer and military-related websites: WebMD, Vietnam Veterans of America and Leatherneck and Gazette
  • Placed advertising in national publications, including USA Today, Time and Newsweek
  • Placed advertising in military-related publications, such as Leatherneck, Gazette and Semper Fi.
  • Provided posters and print announcements distributed to VA facilities nationwide
  • Distributed posters to all US-based commissaries
  • Conducted interviews with newspaper and broadcast journalists
  • Created a website providing a compilation of information on the historic drinking water issue and links to other sites with related information

In addition, the Marine Corps has worked with the Internal Revenue Service to locate former Marines who have lived or worked on Camp Lejeune 1987 and before. The IRS used its database to mail an estimated 150,000 letters from August 1 to October 1, 2008.

More than 133,000 names are currently in the Registry. The Marine Corps continues the outreach response in order to contact as many individuals who have been affected as possible. Upon completion of the studies by the National Academies’ National Research Council (NRC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), registrants will receive summaries of the research results. NRC is scheduled for release in late May or early June 2009. ATSDR is scheduled for release in late 2011.

ATSDR research can be found at: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/update.html
NRC’s Camp Lejeune Project link is: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/ProjectView.aspx?key=BEST-K-06-08-A

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What kind of document search is being conducted at Camp Lejeune?

The Marine Corps’ goal is to consolidate all pertinent documents in one location to expedite response to requests from other…

The Marine Corps goal is to consolidate all pertinent documents in one location to expedite response to requests from other agencies and multiple searches have been conducted for documents that may relate to the drinking water issue. To further ensure that the most comprehensive document search has been conducted, the Marine Corps hired a contractor to conduct a search of the entire Base. The contractor developed a search criteria designed to identify documents related to the water contamination issue and then conducted a search of the entire Base. Both ATSDR and the GAO have full access to documents retrieved in this search.

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How did Marine Corps leadership assess and review the actions taken in response to learning of the contaminants?

In 2004, the Commandant convened a panel of independent experts to determine whether officials at the base acted properly in…

In 2004, the Commandant convened a panel of independent experts to determine whether officials at the base acted properly in decisions made concerning the drinking water. In its report, Drinking Water Fact-Finding Panel, dated Oct. 6, 2004, the panel concluded that in light of the state of science at the time and the evolving drinking water requirements that existed in the early 1980s, Camp Lejeune provided water at a level of quality consistent with general water industry practices. The report can be accessed online at https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/panelreport.html

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What government or judicial agencies have reviewed Marine Corps’ actions at Camp Lejeune?

The EPA Criminal Investigative Division and the US Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina conducted a joint 3-year…

The EPA Criminal Investigative Division and the US Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina conducted a joint 3-year investigation into whether there was any criminal misconduct before the wells were taken out of service or afterwards when records were being requested. They concluded that there had been no violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, no conspiracy to withhold information, falsify data, or conceal evidence regarding violation of any law. The Panel Report is available to the public. The U.S. Attorneys office issued a Declination to Prosecute Statement in August 2005.

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Have other wells been taken out of service after 1985?

No additional wells have been taken out of service since 1985.

No additional wells have been taken out of service since 1985.

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Were any of the wells used again once they were taken out of service?

One of 10 closed wells, TT-23, was used one day in March 1985 and three days in April 1985 to…

One of 10 closed wells, TT-23, was used one day in March 1985 and three days in April 1985 to meet water needs at Tarawa Terrace. This well was used with sampling and oversight provided by the State of North Carolina. The State of North Carolina has primary authority for Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) regulation within the state.

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Which agencies have conducted studies on Camp Lejeune?

Several agencies have conducted independent assessments of the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune. Agencies that have reviewed Camp Lejeune…

Several agencies have conducted independent assessments of the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune. Agencies that have reviewed Camp Lejeune include ATSDR, General Accountability Office (GAO) and the National Academies National Research Council (NRC). Below is information on each agency and the research conducted or links to their website.

Independent Research

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What issues were reviewed by NRC?

A committee of the National Research Council reviewed the scientific evidence on associations between adverse health effects and historical data…

A committee of the National Research Council reviewed the scientific evidence on associations between adverse health effects and historical data on prenatal, childhood, and adult exposures to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. The committee assessed the strength of evidence in establishing a link or association between exposure to trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, and other drinking water contaminants and each adverse health effect suspected to be associated with such exposure.  NRC began its study in April 2007.

The Camp Lejeune Project link is: http://www8.nationalacademies.org/cp/ProjectView.aspx?key=BEST-K-06-08-A

 

National Research Council (NRC)

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How can I get a copy of the public summary?

The NRC study was released June 13, 2009.  To access a copy of the NRC committee's "Report In Brief" that…

The NRC study was released June 13, 2009.  To access a copy of the NRC committee's "Report In Brief" that summarizes the findings of the review, or to view the full report, please visit the National Academies website: http://www.nationalacademies.org/morenews/20090613.html

Posted 11 months agoby Kristijan

Why did the GAO evaluate the Camp Lejeune water contamination?

The National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2005 required GAO to report on past drinking water contamination and related…

The National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2005 required GAO to report on past drinking water contamination and related health effects at Camp Lejeune. In its report, GAO describes (1) efforts to identify and address the past contamination, (2) activities resulting from concerns about possible adverse health effects and government actions related to the past contamination, and (3) the design of the current ATSDR study, including the studys population, time frame, selected health effects, and the reasonableness of the projected completion date.

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How was their study conducted?

GAO reviewed documents, interviewed officials and former residents, and contracted with the National Academy of Sciences to convene an expert…

GAO reviewed documents, interviewed officials and former residents, and contracted with the National Academy of Sciences to convene an expert panel to assess the design of the current ATSDR study. GAO obtained and reviewed more than 1,600 documents related to past and current drinking water activities at Camp Lejeune. GAO focused its review on TCE and PCE contamination at Camp Lejeune but also reviewed documentation regarding other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) detected at Camp Lejeune.

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How did the Marine Corps assist the GAO in its evaluation?

The documents reviewed were obtained from Headquarters Marine Corps and had been collected and organized by a contractor for the…

The documents reviewed were obtained from Headquarters Marine Corps and had been collected and organized by a contractor for the Commandant of the Marine Corps Drinking Water Fact-Finding Panel for Camp Lejeune. They included results of laboratory analyses of drinking water samples, e-mails, memorandums, letters, reports, site maps, federal and state regulations, press releases, and newspaper articles.

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How can I get a copy of the GAO report?

The report, entitled “Defense Health Care: Activities Related to Past Drinking Water Contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, GAO-07-276,…

The report, entitled Defense Health Care: Activities Related to Past Drinking Water Contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, GAO-07-276, May 2007, can be found at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d07276.pdf

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What was the source of the chemical contamination?

The source of the chemical contamination was the groundwater that moved into the wells. Further studies determined that historical on-base…

The source of the chemical contamination was the groundwater that moved into the wells. Further studies determined that historical on-base disposal practices and off-base dry cleaning operations were leaking volatile organic compounds into the ground eventually contaminating water wells on base.

In 1989, the off-base dry cleaning operation, ABC Cleaners, was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Priority List for environmental cleanup. The EPA continues to clean up the groundwater impacted by the dry cleaning operations. In support of the clean up efforts, the Marine Corps has reserved a location on the Base for EPA to operate their clean up system.

The EPA’s Atlanta office is overseeing the ABC Cleaners cleanup. Its telephone number is: 800-241-1754.

For more information, please visit the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/region4/waste/npl/nplnc/abc1hrnc.htm

Historical on-base disposal practices at various locations on Base also contributed to contamination in the Hadnot Point area. The Marine Corps is working with EPA and the State of North Carolina to ensure that clean-up of contamination sources. Several groundwater cleanup systems are currently operating throughout the Base.

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Are the chemicals TCE and PCE still in use on Base?

Materials with TCE and PCE are used in various industries and businesses, and are still used on Camp Lejeune. The…

Materials with TCE and PCE are used in various industries and businesses, and are still used on Camp Lejeune. The Marine Corps complies with federal and North Carolina use and disposal requirements for these materials.

Posted 11 months agoby Kristijan

Are there other environmental concerns at Camp Lejeune?

Camp Lejeune has a strong and active environmental program. Camp Lejeune works closely with the state and Federal environmental regulators…

Camp Lejeune has a strong and active environmental program. Camp Lejeune works closely with the state and Federal environmental regulators to ensure appropriate actions are taken to preserve public health and our environment.

Posted 11 months agoby Kristijan

My child/family member has a medical condition. Is this related to the water?

At this time, ATSDR is conducting a study to determine if certain illnesses are linked to exposure to contaminated drinking…

At this time, ATSDR is conducting a study to determine if certain illnesses are linked to exposure to contaminated drinking water. We await the results from the ATSDR study, expected to be complete in late 2011.The Marine Corps cares about the health and welfare of our family. We encourage you to contact your local or family physician regarding any questions about your familys health. You may also contact ATSDRs toll free line at 888-422-8737 for further information.

 

Health and Medical

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As a retiree, how can I get copies of my medical records?

The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository for millions of military personnel, health, and medical…

The National Personnel Records Center, Military Personnel Records (NPRC-MPR) is the repository for millions of military personnel, health, and medical records of discharged and deceased veterans of all services during the 20th century. Written requests should contain the veteran's complete name used while in service, service number or social security number, branch of service, and dates of service. Date and place of birth may also be helpful, especially if the service number is not known, and include place of discharge, last unit of assignment, and place of entry into the service, if known.

Please send written requests to:
National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
9700 Page Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63132-5100

The NPRC-MPR Web site has additional information at http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/

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Has any legal action been taken against the Marine Corps?

At this time, two lawsuits related to past drinking water quality at Camp Lejeune have been dismissed and two lawsuits…

At this time, two lawsuits related to past drinking water quality at Camp Lejeune have been dismissed and two lawsuits are in litigation. The Department of Justice represents the Navy and Marine Corps in these cases.

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What do I need in order to file a claim form against the Government?

The Federal Tort Claims Act provides a system for submitting claims alleging personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death. The…

The Federal Tort Claims Act provides a system for submitting claims alleging personal injury, property damage, or wrongful death. The requirements and procedures for filing these claims are published in the Code of Federal Regulations at 32 C.F.R. § 750. These regulations may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cfr/index.html

The claims packet from the Department of the Navy, Office of the Judge Advocate General, can be accessed at: http://www.jag.navy.mil/organization/documents/CampLejeuneClaimsPacket.pdf

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Who can my attorney contact?

Please contact the Department of the Navy Office of the Judge Advocate General: Department of the NavyOffice of the Judge…

Please contact the Department of the Navy Office of the Judge Advocate General:

Department of the Navy
Office of the Judge Advocate General
Washington Navy Yard, Bldg
33
1322 Patterson Ave SE Suite 3000

Washington DC, 20374-5066

ATTN: Camp Lejeune Claim
(202) 685-4600

The Marine Corps encourages individuals to contact their local or family physician regarding questions about their health, or they may also contact ATSDR’s toll free line at (888) 422-8737 for further information.  Former active duty service members seeking medical care or a disability rating for their own illness or injury they feel is the result of exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune while on active duty, please consult your local Department of Veterans Affairs facility or call (800) 827-1000.  Claims filed with the Office of the Judge Advocate General are for monetary damages and not for medical care for former Marines or any other VA Benefits.

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