Concentrations of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) found in the drinking water at Marine Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from 1953-1987 exceeded the EPA’s current maximum contaminant levels. Those who used the water on base were exposed to multiple kinds of VOCs. Investigators found that the drinking water was being contaminated through the disposal of dry-cleaning waste, the dumping of industrial toxic waste on base, and leaking underground storage tanks. These chemicals contaminated the groundwater that became sourced for the base’s water supply.
The three primary sources of the contaminated water on base were water from the Tarawa Terrace, Hadnot Point, and Holcomb Boulevard water treatment plants. These treatment plants historically supplied drinking water to the majority of the base housing units and barracks. Other water treatment plants were not affected. The contaminated wells were shut down in 1985.
Those who used the water from the contaminated wells were exposed to VOCs by cooking with, bathing in, and drinking the water. Marines, civilian personnel, and their family members were exposed to VOCs simply by using the base’s tap water.
The next series of posts will be a deeper dive into each of the VOCs found at Marine Base Camp Lejeune. The VOCs we will be discussing are:
1. Perchloroethylene (PCE)
2. Trichloroethylene (TCE)
4. Vinyl Chloride
To learn more about the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, please visit our information page here or, to speak with our team, call 800-800-1102