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How Was Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Clean Up?

Quick Answer

The ongoing cleanup efforts at Camp Lejeune, a military base in North Carolina, have been addressing the water contamination issue that occurred from the 1950s to 1985. The U.S. Navy, along with other agencies, has been removing and treating contaminated materials, implementing remedies, and conducting monitoring to protect people and the environment. The cleanup actions are reviewed periodically, and institutional controls are in place to reduce exposure to contamination. Victims of the water contamination may be eligible for compensation if they meet certain criteria.


Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, has been at the center of a major water contamination issue that has affected thousands of military personnel and their families. From the 1950s to 1985, as many as one million people living or working on the base were exposed to contaminated drinking water containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This exposure put them at risk for serious health consequences.

Understanding the cleanup process is crucial not only for those directly impacted by this tragedy but also for raising awareness about environmental hazards and ensuring accountability from responsible parties. The ongoing efforts to clean up Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water have involved multiple operable units (OUs) being investigated and remediated over several decades.

It is important to note that victims who suffered specific injuries after exposure may be eligible for compensation if they meet certain criteria set by law. These include various types of cancer, renal failure, Parkinson’s disease, miscarriages/birth defects among others listed earlier.

The following sections will provide an overview of how Camp Lejeune’s water contamination cleanup process unfolded over time along with information regarding lawsuits surrounding this issue and eligibility requirements for potential compensation claims.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Cleanup Process

Camp Lejeune, a military installation in Onslow County, North Carolina, has been undergoing an extensive cleanup process to address the water contamination issue that occurred over several decades. The U.S. Navy is the lead agency responsible for investigating and cleaning up the environmental contamination at Camp Lejeune.

Multiple Operable Units

The cleanup activities have been divided into multiple operable units (OUs), which are specific areas being investigated and remediated based on proximity and common waste types. These OUs allow for a systematic approach to addressing different sources of contamination throughout the base.

Remedial Actions

Since 1992, when active efforts began, various remedial actions have taken place at Camp Lejeune as part of its ongoing cleanup process. One significant aspect has involved removing contaminated materials from affected areas within the base grounds. This includes disposing of drums containing hazardous substances like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, benzene along with storage tanks batteries and other waste liquids associated with these contaminants.

Additionally, the implementation of treatment systems plays a crucial role in mitigating further spread or exposure risks related to groundwater pollution. The Navy installed groundwater treatment systems aimed at purifying contaminated water supplies by eliminating harmful chemicals present due to past practices. Furthermore, a bio-treatment cell was established specifically designed for treating soil heavily impacted by pollutants.

Green Remediation Practices

Over time, Camp Lejeune’s commitment towards green initiatives became evident through their adoption of sustainable methods during this clean-up effort. Green remediation practices were implemented, such as using solar-powered subgrade biogeochemical reactors. These innovative technologies help minimize energy consumption while effectively breaking down contaminants found in soils. Moreover, long-term monitoring programs were optimized to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and wastage generated during the entire cleaning process.

Institutional Controls

It is important to note that this cleanup effort has been ongoing for several decades, with remedial actions being implemented in phases. Each phase has been carefully planned and executed to ensure thorough cleanup of the contaminated areas within Camp Lejeune. In addition to removing contaminated materials and implementing treatment systems, institutional controls have been put in place at Camp Lejeune. These are land use limitations that aim to reduce exposure risks associated with contamination on-site. These measures help protect individuals living or working within the base by restricting certain activities that could potentially lead to further exposure.

Review and Monitoring

The U.S. Navy, along with other relevant agencies, regularly reviews these cleanup actions every five years. This ensures their effectiveness towards protecting people’s health and preserving a safe environment for all. Camp Lejeune’s most recent Five-Year Review conducted in 2020 concluded that once complete, the ongoing cleanup actions will provide adequate protection against exposure to contamination. Furthermore, it was determined that the next Five-Year Review will be completed by 2025.

Overall, Camp Lejeune has made significant progress through its comprehensive approach towards addressing water contamination issues. Removing contaminated materials, treatment system installations, and implementation of institutional controls have played key roles throughout this process. Additionally, green remediation practices have showcased their commitment to sustainability while ensuring long-term protection for all those affected by this unfortunate incident.

Review and Monitoring of Cleanup Actions

The cleanup actions at Camp Lejeune are subject to periodic reviews to ensure their effectiveness in protecting the health and well-being of people living or working on the base, as well as safeguarding the environment. These reviews play a crucial role in assessing whether the ongoing efforts are meeting their intended goals.

Five-Year Review in 2020

One significant review that took place was the Five-Year Review conducted in 2020. This comprehensive evaluation assessed various aspects of the cleanup activities at Camp Lejeune, including remediation progress, monitoring results, institutional controls implementation, and overall protection measures.

The findings from this review were encouraging. It concluded that once complete, these cleanup actions would effectively protect both individuals residing within Camp Lejeune’s vicinity and its surrounding ecosystem from further contamination risks associated with past water pollution incidents.

It is important to note that while substantial progress has been made towards remediating contaminated areas within Camp Lejeune since it was placed on Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) back in 1989; some sites may still require additional attention before they can be deemed fully safe for use by military personnel or civilians alike.

Future Five-Year Review in 2025

To maintain accountability throughout this process moving forward into future years ahead – another Five-Year Review will take place again come 2025. During this upcoming assessment period scheduled five years henceforth after completion date mentioned above- experts will reevaluate all relevant data collected during previous evaluations alongside any new information available then determine if adjustments need making based upon current scientific understanding regarding potential long-term effects exposure might have had those affected parties involved directly indirectly due proximity location relative timeframes when events occurred leading up present day circumstances being addressed now through active clean-up campaigns underway today across entire site encompassed under jurisdictional purview governing authorities responsible overseeing such matters related environmental stewardship responsibilities entrusted them respective capacities roles played out over course many decades gone by thus far already elapsed timeframe spanned duration project undertaken thus far.

In conclusion, the periodic reviews and monitoring of cleanup actions at Camp Lejeune are essential to ensure that progress is being made in protecting individuals and the environment from contamination risks. The most recent Five-Year Review conducted in 2020 provided positive findings regarding the effectiveness of ongoing remediation efforts. However, continued vigilance through future assessments such as the upcoming review scheduled for 2025 will be crucial to maintain accountability and address any remaining concerns related to water pollution incidents at Camp Lejeune.

Institutional Controls and Land Use Limitations

Institutional controls play a crucial role in reducing exposure to contamination at Camp Lejeune. These measures are put in place to ensure the long-term protection of people and the environment from any remaining contaminants. Let’s take a closer look at what institutional controls entail, who is responsible for enforcing them, and how they are governed.

Explanation of Institutional Controls:

Institutional controls refer to legal or administrative restrictions on land use that aim to prevent human exposure or limit activities that could potentially spread contamination. At Camp Lejeune, these controls serve as safeguards against further harm caused by residual pollutants present within certain areas of the base.

Parties Responsible for Enforcing Institutional Controls:

The responsibility for implementing and enforcing institutional controls lies with multiple entities involved in the cleanup efforts at Camp Lejeune. The primary parties include:

  1. U.S Navy: As the lead agency overseeing environmental remediation activities, it plays an essential role in ensuring compliance with established control measures.
  2. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): This federal agency collaborates closely with other stakeholders to monitor adherence to institutional control requirements.
  3. North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ): Working alongside both military authorities and federal agencies like EPA ensures proper implementation of necessary precautions throughout ongoing cleanup operations.

Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA):

To establish clear guidelines regarding schedules, milestones, responsibilities, and enforceable actions related to the Camp Lejeune water contamination cleanup, the U.S. Navy, EPA, and NCDEQ signed a Federal Facilities Agreement (FFA). This agreement was executed in 1991 and serves as a legal framework for coordinated efforts towards remediation activities at the camp. The FFA outlines specific obligations each party must fulfill while working together towards achieving successful outcomes during this complex process. It also provides mechanisms through which progress can be monitored regularly, to ensure that institutional constraints are effectively implemented and adhered to.

By implementing institutional controls and land use limitations, the authorities involved in the cleanup efforts at Camp Lejeune aim to minimize exposure risks for both current and future generations. These measures are essential components of a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes public health protection while addressing environmental concerns associated with past water contamination incidents.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits and Compensation Eligibility

Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps Base located in North Carolina, has been at the center of numerous lawsuits due to water contamination that occurred from the 1950s until 1985. The contaminated drinking water exposed as many as one million military personnel, civilian staff, and their families to harmful chemicals such as trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride, and benzene.

The consequences of this exposure have been severe for many individuals who lived or worked on the base during those years. As a result of being exposed to these toxic substances through ingestion or dermal contact with contaminated water sources like wells and taps within residential areas on-base housing units were put at risk for various health conditions.

Compensation Eligibility Criteria

To address these issues legally victims can file claims seeking compensation if they meet certain criteria set by law:

  1. Diagnosis Requirement:

    Individuals must have received an official medical diagnosis confirming one of several specific injuries after exposure at Camp LeJeune.

  2. Specific Injuries Covered:

    Victims may be eligible for compensation if diagnosed with any of the following injuries after exposure at Camp LeJeune:

    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Kidney cancer
    • All types leukemia including myelodysplastic syndromes
    • Liver cancer
    • Bladder cancer
    • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
    • Multiple myeloma
    • Kidney disease end-stage renal disease
    • Systemic sclerosis / scleroderma
    • Cardiac birth defects
    • Esophageal Cancer
    • Male breast cancer
    • Lung Cancer non-smoker
    • Miscarriage
    • Hepatic Steatosis Fatty Liver Disease
    • Female infertility
    • Neurobehavioral effects
    • Non-cardiac birth defects eye defects oral clefts neural tube defect etc
    • Female breast cervical Hodgkins ovarian prostate rectal brain liver cirrhosis soft tissue hypersensitivity skin disorder aplastic anemia
  3. Alternative Eligibility:

    Individuals who have been diagnosed with any other type of cancer, serious medical condition or injury not listed above may also be eligible for compensation.

It is important to note that legal representation plays a crucial role in navigating the complex process of filing claims and seeking compensation. Victims are encouraged to seek assistance from experienced attorneys specializing in Camp Lejeune water contamination cases. These lawyers can provide guidance throughout the entire legal process, ensuring victims’ rights are protected and their voices heard.

If you believe you meet the criteria mentioned above or if you have questions regarding your eligibility for compensation related to Camp Lejeune water contamination, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney familiar with these types of lawsuits as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the current status of the cleanup activities at Camp Lejeune?

A1: The cleanup activities at Camp Lejeune are ongoing. Multiple operable units (OUs) are being investigated and remediated, with each OU comprising one or more sites grouped based on proximity and common waste types. The U.S. Navy is leading the efforts to investigate and clean up environmental contamination.

Q2: How long has the cleanup process been going on?

A2: The cleanup process at Camp Lejeune started in 1992 when contaminated soils, drums, storage tanks, batteries, and waste liquids were removed by the Navy. Since then, various remedies have been implemented over different phases until now.

Q3: Who is responsible for overseeing the water contamination cleanup?

A3: The U.S. Navy, along with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and NCDEQ (North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality), is jointly responsible for investigating and cleaning up environmental contamination caused by water pollution at Camp Lejeune military base.

Q4: Is it safe to drink tap water from Camp Lejeune after all these years?

A4: Yes, the most recent review conducted in 2020 concluded that once complete, cleanup actions will protect people and the environment. The next five-year review will be completed in 2025.


  1. https://cumulis.epa.gov/supercpad/SiteProfiles/index.cfm?fuseaction=second.cleanup&id=0403185
  2. https://www.legalexaminer.com/environment/camp-lejeune-water-contamination-lawsuits/camp-lejeune-contamination-clean-up-is-the-water-safe/
  3. https://www.samndan.com/mass-torts/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/history/