Camp Lejeune: From Contamination to Compensation

On the morning of August 10, 2022, United States President Joe Biden made history by signing the bipartisan PACT Act into law. The new legislation expands federal health care services to veterans with illnesses related to toxins they inhaled or ingested during their time of service.

Crucially, this includes veterans exposed to contaminated water at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

Learn More: The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 gives new options to Camp Lejeune Veterans

The milestone moment took place at the White House in the presence of government staff, members of the media, and military families who have been personally affected by toxin-induced illnesses. President Biden, whose son, Joseph “Beau” Biden III, died of brain cancer in May 2015 following his deployment in Iraq, had commented on prioritizing this type of legislation during his State of the Union Address in March 2022.

“As a nation, we have … only one truly sacred obligation: to equip those we send into harm’s way and to care for them and their families when they come home,” said President Biden during the signing. “Today we are one step closer to fulfilling that sacred obligation.”

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Camp Lejeune Water Contamination: Timeline of Events

The history of Camp Lejeune spans more than 80 years.

Below, our team has outlined important events in the base’s history, including when its water was contaminated and what led to the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

1941Camp Lejeune, along with its housing development Hadnot Point, is established.
1952Housing development Tarawa Terrace is established.
1953The Hadnot Point and Tarawa Terrace drinking water systems become contaminated with chemical waste.
1972Holcomb Boulevard drinking water system is established to serve different areas of Camp Lejeune.
1979-1980The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announces safe drinking water standards, including acceptable levels of chemicals used to clean weapons, machinery, and fabrics.
1980-1982Tap and drinking water samples from Camp Lejeune reveal the presence of toxic chemicals. 
1982-1984The U.S. Navy introduces an environmental cleanup program and tests water systems at Camp Lejeune.
1984-1985Tests of Camp Lejeune's drinking water wells confirm the presence of harmful contaminants. Staff and residents are notified of exposure to poisonous water via newspaper articles. 
1985Contaminated water wells are removed from service.
1987-1992Regulations regarding select chemicals such as benzene and vinyl chloride in drinking water are standardized and enforced.
1991-1998The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, publishes public health announcements and results of a study related to the consumption of Camp Lejeune contaminated drinking water during pregnancy.
2007The U.S. Marine Corps launches a campaign to share relevant information to former Camp Lejeune residents online or by phone.
2008The National Defense Authorization Act requires the U.S. Navy to conduct a health survey of those exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
2009The first-ever Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit is filed against the U.S. government.
2012The Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 requires the VA to provide health care services to veterans of Camp Lejeune. 
2017A sum of $2 billion is allocated toward veterans impacted by water contamination at Camp Lejeune.
2021The U.S. House of Representatives introduces the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
2022As part of the PACT Act, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act is approved by the U.S. Senate.
February 2022The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passes the PACT Act in a 14–11 vote.
March 2022The House of Representatives passes the PACT Act in a 256–174 vote.
June 2022An updated version of the bill passes the Senate in an 84–14 vote, but requires an amendment that causes the bill's passage process to restart.
July 2022The House of Representatives passes the amended version of the PACT Act in a 342–88 vote.
August 2, 2022The bill passes the Senate in a 86–11 vote.
August 10, 2022The bill is signed into law by president Joe Biden.

File a Claim: Pursue Camp Lejeune Compensation

If you or your loved ones lived at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days between 1953 and 1987, and have experienced health issues known to be related to the contaminated water on the premises, you may be entitled to compensation.

For over 40 years, Sokolove Law has helped veterans and their families pursue justice and secure a Camp Lejeune settlement in addition to VA benefits — at no out-of-pocket costs.

Call (800) 995-1212 to learn more about how our team of Camp Lejeune lawyers may be able to help with your claim.

Author:Sokolove Law Team
Sokolove Law Team

Contributing Authors

The Sokolove Law Content Team is made up of writers, editors, and journalists. We work with case managers and attorneys to keep site information up to date and accurate. Our site has a wealth of resources available for victims of wrongdoing and their families.

Last modified: September 9, 2022

View 3 Sources
  1. Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water (n.d.). U.S. Marine Corps. Retrieved from: https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/pages/timeline.aspx. Accessed on August 16, 2022.
  2. FACT SHEET: President Biden Signs the PACT Act and Delivers on His Promise to America’s Veterans. (2022, August 10). The White House. Retrieved from: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases /2022/08/10/fact-sheet-president-biden-signs-the-pact-act-and-delivers-on-his-promise-to-americas-veterans/. Accessed on August 16, 2022.
  3. Your Questions, Answered: The Honoring Our PACT Act. (2022, August 3). Military Officers Association of America. Retrieved from: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications- and-media/news-articles/2022-news-articles/advocacy/your-questions,-answered-the-honoring-our-p act-act/. Accessed on August 16, 2022.