Background Information

Camp Lejeune operates multiple drinking water systems that serve various parts of the base. Water supply wells pump water from deep underground (i.e., groundwater) and deliver it to a water treatment plant. The wells are “cycled,” meaning that not all of the wells are pumping water to the treatment plant at the same time. In the 1980s, some of the wells that supplied water to the Tarawa Terrace, Hadnot Point, and Holcomb Boulevard systems were found to be affected by chemicals. In 1982, special tap water testing identified trichloroethylene (TCE) and tetrachloroethylene (PCE). The test results varied between drinking water samples collected at different times. In 1984-1985, when base officials discovered that these chemicals were in specific drinking water supply wells, these affected wells were taken out of service. The chemicals detected in the drinking water were a class of chemicals known as “volatile organic compounds.” These chemicals are commonly used as solvents for cleaning machinery and weapons, for dry cleaning, and some are found in fuels. The chemicals were later identified as coming from both on-base sources and an off-base source.

While the affected wells were in service, well water was delivered to the water treatment plants where it was mixed with water from other non-affected wells, processed, and then distributed. Detailed information may be found in tables published in reports by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) (www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/) and the National Research Council of the National Academies (NRC) (www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12618&page=R1). The Navy and Marine Corps continue to work with leading scientific organizations in an effort to provide comprehensive science-based answers to the health questions that have been raised.

Drinking water at Camp Lejeune currently meets all government drinking water standards and is tested more often than required. For Camp Lejeune’s annual water quality reports, please visit: http://www.lejeune.marines.mil/OfficesStaff/EnvironmentalMgmt/AnnualReports.aspx.


Related Links

Events Summary
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Click on this section for a timeline of events.


Camp Lejeune Map
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Click here to view a map of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune drinking water system service areas.


Chemicals and Exposure
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Drinking water currently meets all government drinking water standards.


Independent Reviews
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Three independent organizations/agencies have formally reviewed our actions.


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