Camp Lejeune is a military base located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. The base is home to the U.S. Marine Corps, and it is also the location of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. The base has been home to thousands of military personnel who have served in the U.S. Marine Corps, as well as troops from other countries who have served in the military.
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The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
On October 16, 2016, it was reported that the water supply at Camp Lejeune had been contaminated with a deadly form of cancer-causing chemicals, called per- and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The chemicals are associated with the industrial production of paint and electrical equipment.
The contamination occurred because of decades-old septic systems that were left in place by the military base, as well as decades-old wells that provided water to the base. The chemicals had been found in the wells and in the septic systems as well as in groundwater that flowed through the base.
Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit
As part of the cleanup of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the government has been working on removing all of the contaminated water from the base. A settlement agreement was reached on March 15, 2019, between the federal government and the plaintiffs who were suing the government over the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of about 1,000 plaintiffs who worked at Camp Lejeune during their time in the military. The suit alleged that the government was responsible for cleaning up the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and ensuring that it was safe for use again.
Cleaning Up The Site
The lawsuit settlement included a $1 billion settlement fund that would be used to pay for any additional costs associated with cleaning up the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
In addition to paying for the cleanup work, the settlement fund was expected to pay for any future health care needs of those who were exposed to potentially harmful levels of PCBs during their time at Camp Lejeune. In addition to health care needs, the settlement fund would also cover any future financial losses associated with being exposed to PCBs at Camp Lejeune.
The Navy’s Installation Of The Groundwater Treatment System
As part of the cleanup efforts at Camp Lejeune, the Navy installed a groundwater treatment system at the base in order to reduce any potential exposure to PCBs from the contaminated water supply. The system is designed to reduce any potential exposure to PCBs by filtering out any contaminants from groundwater before it flows into wells that supply drinking water.
Once the contaminated water reaches a treatment facility, it is treated and then released back into the local groundwater. The Navy has said that it plans to continue installing additional groundwater treatment systems at Camp Lejeune in order to reduce any exposure to contaminants from the base’s drinking water supply.
Bio-Treatment Cell Installation
In addition to installing groundwater treatment systems at Camp Lejeune, the Navy has also installed bio-treatment cells in order to reduce any potential exposure to contaminants from contaminated water. The bio-treatment cells are designed to remove any contaminants from drinking water by using microorganisms that are capable of breaking down contaminants such as PCBs. Once those contaminants are removed from drinking water, they can be safely released back into local groundwater.
In addition to installing bio-treatment cells at Camp Lejeune, the Navy has also installed bio-membrane filtration systems at other U.S. military bases that have similar groundwater contamination issues. Those systems are designed to remove contaminants from contaminated groundwater before it is released into local groundwater supplies.
How Long Did It Take For The Water Supply To Be Safe Again?
After installation of both groundwater treatment systems and bio-treatment cells, it was announced by the military that all of the contaminated water had been removed from Camp Lejeune. This was completed in February 2019, almost two years after contaminated water was found at Camp Lejeune. The Navy said that it had removed all of the contaminated water from wells and septic systems located on base property as well as from wells outside of base property.
The Navy also stated that it had removed all of the contaminated groundwater from local groundwater supplies as well as from wells located outside of Camp Lejeune’s property line. In addition to removing all of the contaminated water from Camp Lejeune, a similar cleanup process was also completed at other U.S. military bases that had similar groundwater contamination issues. Those other bases include:
- Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia
- Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Hawaii
As part of its cleanup efforts for Camp Lejeune, the federal government has said that it will continue working on reducing any exposure to contaminants from contaminated water supplies at other U.S. military bases that have similar contamination issues. In addition to working on reducing exposure to contaminants from Camp Lejeune’s water supply and other bases, the federal government has also said that it will continue installing bio-treatment cells and groundwater treatment systems at other bases with similar contamination issues in order to ensure that any future exposure to contaminants is reduced or eliminated entirely.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue has now been resolved, and the military has said that it plans to continue installing additional groundwater treatment systems at the base in order to reduce any potential exposure to contaminants from the base’s drinking water supply.