The following is from an email that I shared with Marine Corps League and DAV members in August, 2013. I’ll update the information and provide a SITREP at some point soon. If you’re not aware of this issue and you were stationed at CLNC for thirty days or more between 1948 and 1987, you should look into it.
In 1982, the Marine Corps discovered major problems with the water supply at Camp Lejuene. In fact, of the eight water treatment facilities located aboard the base since its construction, investigation revealed contaminants in two. The contamination was from multiple sources including, ABC One-Hour Cleaners outside the gate, leaking underground storage tanks, various waste disposal sites, and industrial sites.
The contaminated wells were at the Hadnot Point plant, which served Mainside barracks, Hospital Point family housing, Family housing at Midway Park, Paradise Point, and Berkeley Manor until June, 1972; and the Tarawa Terrace facility which served the Tarawa Terrace family housing and Knox trailer park until 1987. The Holcomb Boulevard facility (opened 1972) showed no sign of contamination, and the facilities at Courthouse Bay, the Rifle Range, Onslow Beach, Montford Point/Camp
Johnson, and New River have not been reported upon that I could find.
The known contaminants include:Trichloroethylene (TCE), Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene)(PCE), Dichloroethene (dichloroethylene)(DCE), Benzene, and vinyl chloride.
(see: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/index.html and, specifically: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/watermodeling_summary.html.)
The Current Situation
In 2012, Congress passed the “Janey Ensminger Act,” named after the daughter of a retired Marine Gunny. Per the VA, eligibility is now limited to “Veterans and family members who served on active duty or resided at Camp Lejeune
for 30 days or more between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987.” There are only 14 eligible conditions (detailed at: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp–lejeune/index.asp
As to the water issues, a recent letter to the CDC from a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives, questioned the intent of that agency in releasing a less detailed report than their original. This issue stems from the original report issued by the CDC in 1997 which was withdrawn in 2011 because, “additional information has emerged,” that residents “were exposed to contaminated water for a longer period than we used in the 1997 evaluation,” and that “The full extent of the exposure is still being determined. Thus, the 1997 Assessment may be misleading because the information upon which it was based was incomplete,” (Marine Corps Times, 8/16/2013, cited MCT).
Additionally, there is evidence that suggests that the window should be extended on both ends, and that contaminants in the air should be examined as well. There is evidence of water issues going back as far as 1953. (I need the citation for this, but it’s there!)
- April 1999, occupants of Building 1101 (Information Management Division, base communications, and Marine Corps Community Service warehouse began complaining of a strong petroleum odor. By December headaches, nausea, and eye and respiratory irritation were being reported. This led to the eventual evacuation and demolition of several buildings. (MCT)
- In a March, 1982 report Building 71, used as a day care center was revealed to have been originally a storage and mixing facility for DDT and other dangerous insecticides. As a result, “air and soil samples in the area ‘under the guise of a normal health survey,’ and …analyzed in Norfolk.” This led to the collection of additional samples and a 1988 recommendation “that Lejeune monitor ambient air for buildings located near contamination ‘hot spots’.” (MCT)
- In June 1997, a report on leaking underground storage tanks at the Hadnot Point Fuel Farm revealed that occupied buildings were in the affected area. (MCT)
- In either 2004 or 2007 a 1981 document was found that described a radioactive dump site near “a rifle range,” and was used to dipose of waste containing strontium-90, among other things. (Wikipedia. There’s a CBS report as well, but I couldn’t find it yet.)
There’s an advocacy group specifically dealing with the situation. The Few, The Proud, The Forgotten
maintains their website at:
VA site with information regarding claims at:
Additional information on the specific eligible conditions at:
The CDC website is located at:
The Recent Marine Corps Times
MCB Camp Lejuene “Historic Drinking Water” site