The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 provides long-awaited relief for military personnel and their families to pursue meaningful compensation for injuries and illnesses suffered from exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Service members and families who lived on the base for 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, who are suffering from any of the many Camp Lejeune health conditions, including autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer, or other medical disorders may be eligible to pursue a claim against the federal government.
The timeline of events that led to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune paints a grim picture of delayed responses and nearly two decades of silence before notifying service members and residents who were impacted by the contamination.
Now, those who were impacted by the contamination can understand the sequence of events that led to serious injuries and illnesses, so they can make informed decisions about seeking damages from the federal government. At Roberts & Harris, P.C., our skilled North Carolina water contamination attorneys are here to help facilitate their needs, so they can finally seek justice.
Chronological Events of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
1941: Construction for Camp Lejeune Begins
Located in the southeastern region of North Carolina, in Onslow County, Camp Lejeune construction is completed in 1942.
1952: Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant Becomes Operational
Acting as one of the two original water treatment plants on the base, the Tarawa Terrace water treatment facility was designed to provide water to the Tarawa Terrace residents.
1953: Hadnot Point Water System Became Contaminated
Acting as the original water treatment facility, Hadnot Point was affected by toxic chemicals, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
August 1, 1953: Begins the Eligibility Period Under the Act
Anyone who lived, worked, or was stationed at the base beginning August 1, 1953, and suffered injuries or illnesses from the contaminated water may be eligible for compensation through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
1957: Tarawa Terrace Water System Becomes Contaminated
Estimates by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s data analysis list that water processed through the Tarawa Terrace treatment and distribution system is thought to have been contaminated by November 1957.
1972: Holcomb Boulevard Water System Begins Operating
Holcomb Boulevard water system began operations in 1972, serving areas that included Paradise Point, Midway Park, and Berkeley Manor. Because of the base’s infrastructure, the new water facility was supplemented at times by contaminated water from the Hadnot Point treatment plant.
1980-1982: Water Testing Reveals Contamination at Camp Lejeune
Per Environmental Protection Agency standards, the U.S. Marine Corps sampled drinking water at Camp Lejeune to test for certain chemicals. The testing revealed, “other chemicals [that] interfered with results.”
1982: The Marine Corps Identified the Contaminants Above the EPA Standards for Safe Drinking Water
In 1982, the Marine Corps identified the contaminants trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene or PCE) in both the Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment facilities that were detected at levels above the EPA standards for safe drinking water.
1982-1984: The Military Attempts to Determine the Scope of Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
The Marine Corps and the federal government were fully aware of the contaminated water supply at Camp Lejeune but did not know the extent of its reach. The U.S. Navy was tasked with identifying sites of potential contamination and testing the nearby drinking water wells for contaminants from 1982 – 1984.
1985-1987: The Federal Government Shuts Down Contaminated Water Plants at Camp Lejeune
The “most contaminated” water treatment plants on Camp Lejeune were shut down by the federal government beginning in 1985. The time-consuming process left the water potentially unsafe to drink until 1987.
December 31, 1987: Ends the Eligibility Period Under The Act
Service members and their families who lived on Camp Lejeune
between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, may be eligible to bring a claim for injuries and illnesses suffered from ingesting contaminated water on the base under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.
1987-1989: The Safe Drinking Water Act is Amended to Include Volatile Organic Compounds Found at Camp Lejeune
The Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1972 and was amended in 1987 to include the standards for the levels of TCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene, which were among the chemicals detected in contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
1999: The Marine Corps Begins Notifying Former Camp Lejeune Residents of the Health Risks Associated with the Drinking Water on the Base
Nearly two decades passed since the government was made aware of the contamination at Camp Lejeune before the Marine Corps began notifying former residents and service members stationed on the base that they may have been exposed to toxic chemicals.
2009: The Wife of a Former Marine Files the First Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuit
Laura Jones, the wife of a former Marine, who lived at Camp Lejeune with her husband from 1980 – 1983, became the first person to file a lawsuit against the United States government over the water contamination on the base. The house that they lived in received its drinking water from one of the contaminated water treatment plants at Camp Lejeune.
Mrs. Jones’ lawsuit claimed she was exposed to dangerous chemicals through the Camp’s water supply, including TCE, PCE, DCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene. She alleged that this exposure led her to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).
2012: President Obama Signs the Camp Lejeune Families Act Of 2012 into Law
The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 is signed into law by President Barack Obama allowing eligible service members from Camp Lejeune to start receiving health care benefits from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. The Act also permitted eligible family members to be reimbursed for health care costs pertaining to qualifying conditions through the Camp Lejeune family member program.
2017: Veterans Begin to File for VA Benefits Claims Due to Exposure to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
The Department of Veterans Affairs published a final rule establishing presumptive service connection for service members stationed at Camp Lejeune and began accepting compensation claims. The VA paid approved claims out of a $2.2 billion fund intended to cover these claims over the next five years. Many believed the bureaucratic loopholes deprived countless potentially eligible service members of successfully filing claims.
2021: Lawmakers Take a Renewed Interest in Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Claims
In 2021, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was introduced in Congress to remove the confining obstacles veterans faced when seeking a claim for their injuries and illnesses caused by the contaminated water on Camp Lejeune.
The Act, however, still imposes strict eligibility requirements:
- Service members must have been on-base for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, to bring a claim.
- Service members have the burden of establishing a causal connection between their health condition and the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
2022: The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 Becomes Law
The U.S. Senate passed the Honoring Our PACT Act to improve healthcare and benefits for veterans exposed to toxic substances, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act that allows those impacted from living and working on the Base to exercise their constitutional right to legal action against the U.S. government for toxic water exposure.
The skilled North Carolina water contamination attorneys are Roberts & Harris, P.C. are here to help seek justice for our service members and their families.
Contact Our Experienced Water Contamination Attorneys in North Carolina Today
Both Patrick Roberts and Ranchor Harris come from proud military families, the latter of whom is a member of a Gold Star Family. With the law firm’s founders’ deep connections to military service, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act provides the opportunity for the attorneys to give back to those who have bravely sacrificed their lives to protect ours.
Military members deserve to partner with experienced attorneys who can pursue the financial relief they are entitled to for being left in the dark for nearly two decades about the potential toxins they ingested during their time at Camp Lejeune.
Mr. Harris has successfully litigated TCE and other water contamination cases involving volatile organic chemicals, and Mr. Roberts has a secondary degree in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, providing a thorough understanding of the science behind the chemical contamination that occurred at Camp Lejeune. This knowledge gives former service members and residents on the base the skill and experience they need to pursue results from the federal government.
If you were a service member or resident who lived on the base for 30 days and are suffering from any of the many Camp Lejeune health conditions, including autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, cancer, or other medical disorders may be eligible to pursue a claim against the federal government. Contact the skilled North Carolina water contamination attorneys at Roberts & Harris, P.C., today at (919) 249-5006 or online to discuss your case during a free consultation.