Water Contamination

President Obama
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

Earlier this week, President Obama signed a law to provide health care to thousands of Marine veterans and their families who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987. Retired Marine Jerry Ensminger was one of them. His daughter died of leukemia he believes was caused by the contamination. For fifteen years, Ensminger has led the fight to get help for sick veterans and their families. And he says it’s not over yet.

North Carolina lawmakers are hailing the signing of a bill today that will grant health care to marines and their families who drank toxic tap water at Camp Lejune from 1957 to 1987. An award-winning documentary chronicles the efforts of former U.S. Marine Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger who lost his daughter, Janey, to a rare form of childhood leukemia as a result of the exposure. Congressman Brad Miller says the chemicals found in the water are known carcinogens that cause a host of illnesses and conditions that include male breast and female infertility.

A bill that helps military families harmed over 30 years by water at Camp Lejeune will become law today.

An environmental group wants North Carolina's coastal water to be cleaner. The Natural Resources Defense Council's new report on water quality says about three percent of the samples at twelve beaches exceeded bacteria levels set by the EPA. That's better than the national average of eight percent. Jon Devine is an attorney with the NRDC. He says the biggest cause of pollution on the coast is storm water runoff, but there are solutions.

NC Division of Water Quality
NC Division of Water Quality

North Carolina environmental officials are formulating a strategy to reduce mercury levels in the state's waterways. The divisions of air and water quality are holding public meetings this week and next to share their findings and solicit ideas. Susan Massengale with the Division of Water Quality says they've just completed a study finding that 98% of the mercury in the state's water is coming from the air.

A U.S. Senate committee has heard testimony about the Marine Corps' attempt to delete information from a government report on contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

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