Camp Geiger is a Marine Corps base that is part of a larger base, Camp Lejeune, though the two camps are not geographically connected. Camp Geiger is located in Jacksonville, North Carolina, approximately 10 miles south of the main camp. The United States Marine Corps School of Infantry East is located in Camp Geiger and is attended by roughly 20,000 Marines from the Eastern Recruiting Region at any given time.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Camp Geiger — along with Courthouse Bay, New River, Camp Johnson, and Rifle Range — is served by uncontaminated water systems. While Camp Geiger is part of Camp Lejeune, the water at that specific location was not found to be contaminated. Still, that doesn’t mean that service members and others who lived at Camp Lejeune couldn’t have been exposed to water contaminants in other areas of the base.
Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune
The ATSDR has determined that water contamination at Camp Lejeune began sometime around 1953 at the Hadnot Point water treatment facility. The drinking water system began operating in this area of the camp as early as 1941, when the site was first being developed, but the contamination did not formally begin until nearly 12 years later.
A volatile organic compound (VOC) known as TCE (trichloroethylene) was later discovered to be the primary contaminant at the Hadnot Point plant. Other chemicals, including vinyl chloride, benzene, PCE (tetrachloroethylene), and DCE (dichloroethylene), were also found at Hadnot Point. PCE was the main contaminant at the Tarawa Terrace treatment facility. The ATSDR believes that PCE began affecting the Tarawa Terrace water supply around 1957.
Tragically, these sites were not thoroughly tested until the early to mid-1980s, and the most highly contaminated wells at Tarawa Terrace and Hadnot Point were not shut down until 1985.
Potentially Contaminated Sites at Camp Lejeune
As noted, Camp Geiger’s water supply did not contain any of the solvents found in the water at the Tarawa Terrace or Hadnot Point facilities. Residents of Camp Geiger received drinking water from a separate, uncontaminated source. However, the water supply in many other areas of Camp Lejeune was affected. These sites include:
- Tarawa Terrace (Tarawa Terrace water system)
- Knox Trailer Park (Tarawa Terrace water system and the Montford Point/Camp Johnson water system)
- Berkeley Manor (Hadnot Point water system until June 1972, later served by the Holcomb Boulevard water treatment facility except in rare cases)
- Paradise Point (Hadnot Point water system until June 1972, served by Holcomb Boulevard system from June 1972 onward with occasional exceptions)
- Midway Park (Hadnot Point water system until June 1972, later served by the Holcomb Boulevard system with a few exceptions)
- Hospital Point (Hadnot Point water treatment system)
- Barracks (Hadnot Point water system)
- The majority of bachelor housing (Hadnot Point water system)
Although Berkeley Manor, Paradise Point, Midway Park, and Watkins Village were all served by the Holcomb Boulevard system from 1972 on, there were times when service members and others in these areas continued to receive water from the Hadnot Point system post-June 1972.
During dry spells in the spring and summer months, additional water would sometimes be pumped into these sites from the Hadnot Point system. These areas also received water from the Hadnot Point system for two weeks in early 1985 while repairs were being performed on the Holcomb Boulevard system. This was just before the most prominent contaminated wells at Camp Lejeune were shut down for good.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit
Anyone who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days from August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987, could soon be entitled to seek compensation through a federal claim if they were diagnosed with cancer or another serious disease. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 would overrule the North Carolina statute of repose that is currently preventing victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune from taking legal action. Currently, lawsuits cannot be brought against polluters in North Carolina if ten years have passed since the defendant’s misconduct began.
As a result, victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune have had no legal recourse to seek compensation for damages they suffered, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other losses. If the new bill is passed, that will change. However, to obtain compensation, victims will still have to prove that their condition occurred because of the government’s negligence or the negligence of another party.
If you lived at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, you could qualify for a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
If the new bill is approved as expected, the Illinois attorneys at TruLaw will be prepared to begin litigating cases. Visit our Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Lawsuit page and get an instant case assessment.