Perchloroethylene AKA PERC Is A Dry Cleaning Solvent That Contaminated The Camp Lejeune Tap Water Supply
Lawsuits will focus on PERC being improperly disposed of in the local water drainage system for decades
Monday, August 29, 2022 - Camp Lejeune water contamination first came to light when reports of cancer rates among Marines surfaced in the 1980s. Thousands of cases of Camp Lejeune cancer were reported by people who lived or worked at the base since then. In the 1950s trichloroethylene (TCE), perchloroethylene (PERC), benzene, and vinyl chloride began leaking into and contaminating the groundwater at Camp Lejeune, making its way directly into the base's tap water supply. The toxins allegedly came from leaky waste disposal pits, leaky underground fuel storage tanks, and a local dry cleaning company improperly disposing of its dry cleaning solvents. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blames a dry cleaning establishment located only 600 feet away from one of the base's water treatment facilities for causing the bulk of the water contamination. According to NCPolicyWatch.com., "Over time, ABC discharged thousands of gallons of hazardous solvents through its septic system. The chemicals leaked from the septic tank saturated the soil and seeped into the groundwater, contaminating two wells that supplied drinking water to Tarawa Terrace, an on-base housing community of 6,200 residents. " Not until 2018, did the U.S. Marines Corps release a statement that the water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated and should not be consumed, cooked in, or bathed in. News of the Camp Lejeune water contamination problem and its link to marine veterans and their family members getting cancer is now making its way through the military community. The goal of military periodicals like Stars and Stripes is to inform their readership of important events in the lives of servicemembers and none is more important than the passage of the Honoring Our Pact Act and Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The latter gives Marine veterans, civilian employees and contractors, and their respective family members the ability to file a lawsuit seeking lump-sum monetary compensation awards. Thousands of Marine veterans who have been denied benefits in the past by the Veterans Administration are now refilling under the provisions of the new law.
Contaminated water has been linked to a variety of serious health problems including cancers, miscarriages, birth defects, and neurological disorders like Parkinson's disease. Thousands of children may have died needlessly from childhood leukemia after their mothers unknowingly drank the contaminated base tap water during their pregnancy. The Marine Corps now provides bottled water to residents on the base and is working on a plan for treating the contaminated water facilities. The last water well that was known to be contaminated was closed in 1987. The water contamination at Camp Lejeune lingered for decades. People that were conceived and born at Camp Lejeune are now in their 50s and 60s and are today being made aware that they may have cancer. The health problems posed by PERC have not been fully resolved and it could take decades to clean up the contaminated water and soil.