Attention is finally being given to the water contamination at the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina.
The Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water distribution systems are being studied for contamination by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. They have already verified the contamination of the Tarawa Terrace water distribution system from June 1957 to March 1987. Further studies are underway to determine the length of contamination at Hadnot Point.
The models generated by the ATSDR studies are expected to reveal contamination of a much greater magnitude than was previously understood. The connection they will provide in regards to marine illnesses and contamination will more than likely give rise to lawsuits against the federal government for these damages.
Despite implications that led the public to believe the U.S. Marine Corps had closed wells suspected of containing toxic chemicals, documentation from a St. Petersburg Times review proves that no such action was taken.
Epidemiologists are startled by the correlation between rare forms of cancer and marines who were stationed at Camp Lejeune.
The connection between illnesses and the misinformation presented by the U.S. Marine Corps regarding the synthetic organic cleaning solvents found in the water supply, gives rise to national concern.
Although the water was deemed toxic by chemists in 1980, no immediate action was taken by the U.S. Marine Corps until four years later. Until then, the wells were not tested for pollution.
Before the wells were closed, evidence proves that they withheld information regarding the presence of contaminants in reports issued by the U.S. Marine Corps.
Though required by law to inform regulators of the 1,500 gallons of fuel a month that posed the greatest threat to the water supply, this information was also withheld.
It wasn’t until 1989 that the fuel depot, responsible for the spillage of up to 30,000 gallons of fuel, was shut down. Even then, the Marine Corps denied any hazard associated with the fuel spill.
In 1981, a test was conducted at a rifle range regarding the presence of hazardous chemicals that had traveled from a waste dump nearby. Engineers confirmed the existence of these chemicals and ordered the wells at the rifle range to be closed. Some warnings were ignored by the U.S. Marine Corps.
The Feres Doctrine is a federal law that currently prohibits veterans to sue the federal government in cases like Camp Lejeune. If certain criterion can be met, some cases are able to bypass the federal law.
Final conclusions made by the ATSDR may allow veterans to meet criteria necessary to overrule the Feres Doctrine.
The marines, who proudly serve their country, never imagined the deceit they would face or that the greatest opposition, what’s being considered the nation’s worst public-drinking contamination, would appear not in the line of duty, but on their base.
More Camp Lejeune Stories