During World War II, the Navy needed a training facility based on the East Coast of the United States. The Department of Navy purchased 110,000-acres near Wilmington and Moorehead City, North Carolina. In April 1941, Congress authorized funding to construct Camp Lejeune.
During construction of the base in the 1940s, the water distribution system was established utilizing groundwater wells. Four main systems – Hadnot Point, Tarawa Terrace, Marine Corp Air Station, and Holcomb Boulevard – supply water to the base. Additional water distribution systems on the base include Onslow Beach, Courthouse Bay, Rifle Range, and Camp Johnson.
Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point are the primary locations of contamination at issue in these claims. Marine Corps authorities found these two systems were contaminated with solvents in the mid-1980s. They discontinued service from several supply wells after determining two different sources of contamination.
Perchloroethylene (PCE) found in the Tarawa Terrace system was due to waste-disposal from the ABC One-Hour Cleaners (a drycleaning facility). While the source of contamination in the Hadnot Point system is less certain, reports point to landfills and base operations involving the disposal of solvents and other compounds.
The Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point water treatment systems began operating in 1952 and 1943, respectively. These systems supplied water to enlisted-family housing, barracks for unmarried service personnel, base administrative offices, schools, and recreational areas.
The Hadnot Point water system also supplied the base hospital, an industrial area, and full-time housing on the Holcomb Boulevard water system (the Hadnot Point system and the Holcomb Boulevard system are connected.)
Over the course of several decades, hundreds of thousands of military personnel and civilians were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. If you or someone you love spent time at the base between 1953 and 1987, call DeGaris Law today for a free consultation.