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Local opinion columnists

Marines affected by tainted water should file VA claim

By From page A11 | August 17, 2012

President Barack Obama recently signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which included recognition of a water contamination problem that occurred at Camp Lejeune, N.C., between 1957 and 1987.

During that time, Marines and their families living at the base apparently bathed in and ingested tap water contaminated with harmful chemicals. An undetermined number of former base residents later developed cancer or other ailments, which many blame on the contaminated drinking water.

In 2009, the federal government initiated investigations into the allegations of contaminated water. The contamination appears to have affected the water from two of the eight water treatment plants on the base. The main chemicals involved were volatile organic compounds, such as the dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene and trichloroethylene, a degreaser; however, more than 70 chemicals have been identified as contaminants at Camp Lejeune.

The Marine Corps has since cleaned up the water supply and safe water is being supplied to Camp Lejeune and its residents.

In 1999, the Marine Corps began notifying former base residents that they might have consumed contaminated water. The notifications were directed by a federal health study examining possible birth defects among children born at the base during the contamination years.

At this time, there is insufficient scientific and clinical evidence to establish a presumptive association between service at Camp Lejeune during the period of water contamination and the development of certain diseases.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is closely monitoring new research. VA representatives regularly attend the quarterly Community Action Panel meetings hosted by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Veterans may file a claim for disability compensation for health problems they believe are related to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis as they are not presumptive at this time.

 If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune, were in the military from 1957 through 1987 and you have cancer or any unexplained illness, you should contact the Solano Veterans Service Office and file a claim with the VA.

 If you lived or worked at Camp Lejeune prior to 1987, you may register at https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/index.aspx to receive notifications from the Marine Corps with regard to Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water. While all the facts are not in on this issue, it is recommended that all veterans who have served at this Marine base during the aforementioned time frame with illnesses that could be tied to this exposure should file a claim for service-connected disability by coming into our office.

The families of these veterans who lived on this base during that time should register on the above website and get more information.

Ted Puntillo is director of Veteran Services for Solano County. Reach him at 784-6590 or [email protected] The Solano County Veteran Services Office, 675 Texas St. in Fairfield, is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ted Puntillo


Discussion | 5 comments

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  • Rafael BadilloJanuary 07, 2014 - 3:20 pm

    I was station at CLNC from 1978-1984. My first son was born at the Naval Hospital in 1982. His been having problems ever since. My second son was born in 1990 at the Beaufort Naval Hospital in South Carolina. He has been diagnose with marfan syndrome, Ascending aortic aneurysm, Pectus excavatum:s/p Nuss bar placement and removal, Multiple spontaneous pneumothoraces; s/p pleurodesis surgery, Scoliosis; s/p posterior fusion sugery (staged x2), restrictive lung disease, chronic chest and back pain, ventricular tachycardia and hypertension. He was born with Marfan syndrome with the associated conditions described above. Could the contaminated water had anything to do with my son having the diagnose mention above and are they eligible for any kind of benefits Please help me. R. Badillo 1sgt USMC/Ret

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  • Richard Goris.September 19, 2014 - 11:08 am

    I am still alive to this day, and blessed buy the lord, to be here in his presents, the reason why someone would purposly tant the water is , not known, maybe the person who tainted the water needed mental insurance, and was just realeased out of a mental institution, someone undid that persons straight jacket and let them out of there padded room. or maybe life insurance played a part, for all those benificiaries that made out financilly after several deaths where reported a sad way to make money though. that retard that contaminated the water should be placed back into the mental institution where they came from, or cancel everyones termlife insurance. signed richard.

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  • Wayne MichaelOctober 29, 2014 - 5:09 pm

    Let's see, in only 4 years in the Corps I got a lung infection called ARD while at Camp Geiger resulting in 51 days in the Naval Hospital at Lejeune,exposed to Hep C either through injection guns or a Gammagoblin injection prior to going to Vietnam,Type 2 diabetis and a soft tissue sarcoma due to Agent Orange exposure and now this.How I'm still alive is one of life's great mysteries.

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  • George GassnerOctober 31, 2014 - 12:24 pm

    My wife and I were living at Camp Lajeune barracks and Terrara Terrace during 1953-1955. Why are we not included under the 1957-1987 dates. The umbrella dates seem arbitrary.

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  • gloria guardadoNovember 14, 2014 - 3:30 pm

    i lived on camp lejeune from january 1975 to 1976. my first son was born on base. my second son was born in california in 1978. at the age of only months old he had had ear infections every 3 months. by the time he was 1 1/2 he had his tonsils removed. on sept. 9,2013 he was diagnoist with esophagus cancer and passed away feb. 14,2014.

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