Camp Lejeune
Military and Veterans Law Center of San Diego, CA

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyers

Though not impossible, there are instances where a condition can result from simply being stationed on a specific base. San Diego veterans stationed in the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were exposed to contaminated water from its two wells. This resulted in aggravating or incurring diseases. In response, the VA established a new rule that will allow those veterans to easily obtain disability benefits.

What is the Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Event?

Between the mid-1950s and mid-1980s, veterans and their families drank and bathed at Camp Lejeune. During those decades, they were unaware that the water was contaminated with high levels of toxic chemicals. It was only around 1985 that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water supply which caused an immediate order to shut down the two wells containing the VOCs trichloroethylene, Perchloroethylene, Vinyl Chloride, and Benzene.

It did not help that there was a base order in 1974 that required the safe disposal of solvents, which warned that improper handling could cause drinking water contamination. Yet solvents were still dumped or buried near base wells for years, causing the VOCs to enter the drinking and bathing water at Camp Lejeune.

And it was only after the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 that veterans who served in Camp Lejeune and their families were given cost-free health care.


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    Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune

    The high levels of toxic chemicals found in both the drinking and bathing water at Camp Lejeune’s water supply caused a few presumptive service-connected diseases in many veterans. If even just one symptom is present in a San Diego veteran or their family, they are eligible for disability benefits. These injuries resulted from the camp’s negligence when it ignored base orders and continued improper disposal of solvents for years, which caused the water contamination to occur.

    Now veterans and their families have presumptive service-connected diseases incurred or aggravated by the VOCs found in the water. A few examples of these service-connected conditions are adult leukemia, aplastic anemia, and multiple myeloma. In women, it was reported that the VOC contaminated water caused birth defects and other ill health effects in pregnant and nursing mothers.

    The Process for Receiving VA Benefits

    In January 2017, the VA published a new rule that made it easier for veterans to obtain disability benefits and increase their disability rating if they suffer from one of eight diseases associated with contaminated water. The VA presumes that the veteran incurred or aggravated the disease while in service at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, located on the military base.

    And because the VA presumes that these diseases are service connected, they do not require veterans to prove that the contaminated water caused their illness. Instead, they only need the veteran to confirm that they received a discharge under conditions other than dishonorable from active duty, reserve, or national guard service. They also require the veteran to have served at Camp Lejeune (or MCAS New River) for a total of at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, to December 31, 1987. And of course, the veteran must currently be suffering from one of the eight presumptive conditions.

    Should You Hire a Lawyer?

    The rules under claiming disability benefits from being in service at Camp Lejeune may seem straightforward and easy, but the VA is still a tough jury to convince. If you’re facing the VA disability benefits system, you should do it with a man who understands you. That man is Stephen Brodsky, a lawyer who devoted his practice to helping San Diego veterans with their VA appeals.