Thursday, July 10, 2014





Marines failed to safeguard base’s water supply, victims say

Marine Corps maintains a test would not have uncovered the carcinogens.


May 18. 2013 11:10PM
Story Tools
PrintPrint | E-MailEMail | SaveSave | Hear Generate QR Code QR
Send to Kindle


CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — A simple test could have alerted officials that the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated, long before authorities determined that as many as a million Marines and their families were exposed to a witch’s brew of cancer-causing chemicals.


But no one responsible for the lab at the base can recall that the procedure — mandated by the Navy — was ever conducted.


The U.S. Marine Corps maintains that the carbon chloroform extract (CCE) test would not have uncovered the carcinogens that fouled the southeastern North Carolina base’s water system from at least the mid-1950s until wells were capped in the mid-1980s. But experts say even this “relatively primitive” test — required by Navy health directives as early as 1963 — would have told officials that something was terribly wrong.


A just-released study from the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry cited a February 1985 level for trichloroethylene of 18,900 parts per billion in one Lejeune drinking water well — nearly 4,000 times today’s maximum allowed limit of 5 ppb. Given those kinds of numbers, environmental engineer Marco Kaltofen said even a testing method as inadequate as CCE should have raised some red flags with a “careful analyst.”


“That’s knock-your-socks-off level — even back then,” said Kaltofen, who worked on the infamous Love Canal case in upstate New York, where drums of buried chemical waste leaked toxins into a local water system.


Biochemist Michael Hargett agrees that CCE, while imperfect, would have been enough to prompt more specific testing in what is now recognized as the worst documented case of drinking-water contamination in the nation’s history.




Comments
comments powered by Disqus Commenting Guidelines
Poll
Mortgage Minute


Search for New & Used Cars

Make 
Model
 
Used New All
 

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just the home you want!

Search Times Leader Classifieds to find just what you need!

Search Pet Classifieds
Dogs Cats Other Animals



Social Media/RSS
Times Leader on Twitter
Times Leader on Youtube
Times Leader on Google+
The Times Leader on Tumblr
The Times Leader on Pinterest
Times Leader RSS Feeds