Written By: Robert King, Esq.
Legal Review By: Mike Stag, Esq.
The Military Base Water Contamination Lawsuit is an active lawsuit
See If You Qualify

Contaminated military bases are an epidemic. The brave men and women of our military have assumed some risk when they agreed to serve, but we do not believe they agreed to toxic exposure on our military bases. This website is about whether you can file a contaminated military base lawsuit. Veterans can apply for service related disability if they can show that their military service led to illness or disease because of toxic exposure on contaminated military bases, and possibly file a lawsuit. Camp Lejeune lawsuits are the most widely known contaminated military base lawsuit. In addition, our firm is taking cases involving AFFF firefighting foam and pfas contamination at or near military bases. If we can show that toxic exposure caused an illness or disease you may be able to file a contaminated military base lawsuit. Below you will find recent updates on Military base contamination lawsuits, a brief history of contamination on military bases and frequently asked questions about military base contamination and contaminated military base lawsuits.

Military Water Contamination Lawsuit Update

April 22, 2024: EPA Designation of PFOA and PFOS as Hazardous Substances Highlights Military Base Contamination

Two forever chemicals, known as PFOA and PFOS, have been designated as hazardous substances by the United States EPA. This designation brings military base contamination into further focus. Some of the most contaminated sites in the US are on military bases. This regulation clarifies the government’s position on these substances. It seems logical that the same government will be forced to continue to clean up the contamination on the military bases and provide safe drinking water to the members of the military stationed there. At least 700 military bases have tested positive for the presence of these (now) hazardous substances.

April 19, 2024: EPA’s New PFAS Regulations Spotlight Military Base Contamination

New PFAS regulations from the EPA highlight the problem on military bases. The regulations clearly and unequivocally state that PFAS cause illnesses and death, necessitating tighter guidelines. The new law reduces the health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS to 4 and 2 parts per trillion, respectively. The EPA, part of the same government as the military, acknowledges that veterans exposed to PFAS on military bases could face serious health consequences. Over 700 military sites have been confirmed as PFAS positive, and nearly every one of them would test above the new limits set by the government. We are left to wonder how many of their own military bases are currently in violation of this law.

April 3, 2024: Final PFAS Settlement approved in public water supplier lawsuits

Judge Gergel recently approved the multi-billion dollar settlement in the PFAS water contamination cases concerning municipal water supplies. This settlement will help pay for clean-up costs of public water systems contaminated by PFAS products produced by 3M. The deal calls for 13 years of payments to be made beginning in the 3rd quarter of 2024, ending in 2036. The final settlement will be between 10.5-12.5 billion dollars and will allow for any new claims through 2026.

While this ends phase one of the litigation, several thousand personal injury claims remain, many of which involve firefighters and military members exposed to AFFF firefighting foam either directly or through contaminated water. Trials in this phase are due to begin in late 2024. It is expected that this part of the litigation could settle within the next 1 to 2 years.

April 1, 2024: Focus on Waterborne Illnesses in Military Base Contamination Lawsuit Before Judge Gergel

The most active part of the military base water contamination lawsuit is centered in Charleston, SC, before Judge Richard M. Gergel. The federal lawsuit is based around firefighting foam, a major contaminator of military bases. Judge Gergel has focused his attention on illnesses that can be caused by consuming contaminated drinking water. The alternative would have been to focus on those directly exposed to chemicals through contact with the skin or by breathing a chemical in the air. Judge Gergel’s position will allow for more veterans to submit claims because many veterans’ most significant contact with contamination on base is through the water that they drank and showered in. The judge has asked plaintiffs’ lawyers for a list of the illnesses they think they can support with scientific evidence. The defense will then respond with their scientific evidence. We anticipate a full day of presentations to the Judge within the next few months about the science of illnesses caused by toxins in drinking water. These “science days” are common in large federal lawsuits, although it is somewhat unusual that science day would be this many years into litigation.

March 23, 2024 – Government Awareness of PFAS Contamination at Military Bases Highlighted

The government has been aware of PFAS contamination around military bases for many years. In 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a warning that contamination around military bases was a significant health concern, particularly highlighting the risk of cancer. They referenced the 2018 draft of the ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry) study, a government-conducted study, to underline the risks. This report was finalized after public comments in May 2021. The ATSDR report on PFAS identified military fire training areas as one of the principal sources of PFAS contamination in the United States. Despite the report’s clear articulation of the problem, many military personnel have been exposed since the report’s publication. In some PFAS lawsuits, the United States government has been named as a defendant, alongside the primary defendants, the chemical manufacturers.

March 22, 2024 – Revealed Documents Link 3M’s PFAS to Health Risks on Military Bases

Chemicals produced by 3M are one of the main sources of PFAS contamination on military bases. Documents revealed during the discovery phase of certain lawsuits indicate that 3M periodically tested and conducted experiments to assess the health effects of PFAS chemicals. These chemicals, used in firefighting foam, were supplied predominantly to the Department of Defense by 3M from the 1960s until the early 2000s. A particularly concerning study, conducted from April 1981 through May 1983, demonstrated that PFAS chemicals caused testicular cancer in rats. This document was marked “confidential,” and there was little subsequent follow-up. Decades later, an independent group of doctors associated with the C8 lawsuit also determined that exposure to PFAS chemicals could cause testicular cancer, echoing the findings of 3M’s earlier experiment.

March 20, 2024 – Military Base Water Contamination Lawsuits Continue to Progress

The Camp Lejeune Lawsuit, the largest military base water contamination lawsuit, is moving along. Today a status conference was held involving Plaintiffs’ lawyers and lawyers from the United States Department of Justice. Judge Robert Jones presided. The majority of the first 100 plaintiff’s have been deposed by the government. Additional depositions of witnesses are ongoing. Plaintiff’s lawyers have made a motion for partial summary judgement on general causation, arguing that there is no reasonable view of the evidence that would suggest toxic exposure is not linked to certain illnesses. The Plaintiff’s requested leave to appeal the decision that there is no right to a Jury Trial. Questions about what information would be relevant to a settlement matrix were raised. More information can be found at

March 17, 2024 – Plaintiff’s Leadership Requests Additional Diseases to be added to PFAS Lawsuit

As part of the lawsuit alleging cancers and other illnesses caused by AFFF firefighting foam – both by direct exposure and by water contamination on military bases – the Plaintiff’s have asked the judge to add two additional diseases to a previous case management order. Previously the plaintiff’s allege a link to Kidney Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Thyroid Disease, and Ulcerative Colitis. In this new request, the plaintiff’s assert that Liver Cancer and Thyroid Cancer should be added. Neither the previous list or the new request necessarily make someone eligible for a settlement, these are simply the diseases which will be most heavily discussed during discovery and trials. It is expected that plaintiff’s will be chosen soon and trials will begin in 2024.

March 13, 2024 – ATSDR releases new study

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of The United States Department of Health and Human Services, has released a critical study regarding contamination of military bases. The Pease Study Report was published on January 12, 2024. The study is designed to be a proof-of-concept for a more comprehensive multi military base PFAS contamination study. The study assumes that military bases are some of the most contaminated PFAS sites in the United States. Pease Air Force Base, in Portsmouth, NH, used PFAS chemicals like many military bases. The base closed in 1991. Eventually the old military base was used as a business park and included a day care. The chemicals there have contaminated the water supply. 1,836 people that were regularly exposed to the base water had their blood tested. The results showed their blood serum contained double or triple the national average of PFAS chemicals. Several illness were reported. This study states that a larger sample size would be used to determine the relationship between PFAS exposure and certain illnesses. We expect more work on PFAS at military bases from the ATSDR soon. The report can be viewed here.

March 9, 2024 – Military Water Contamination Lawsuits continue to increase

By motion filed February, 26 2024 the government has asked a federal court judge to dismiss a lawsuit against the United States for PFAS contamination. The lawsuit alleges that the area around Cannon Air Force Base was contaminated by the military with forever chemicals. The Plaintiffs in the suit are four large dairy farms that are adjacent to the base. Lawyers from the Department of Justice say that federal law provides immunity for these claims because the Plaintiffs did not allege a specific violation of law in their complaint. The Government also states that the cases should be dismissed because of a lack of jurisdiction. The Plaintiffs maintain that the Government is at least partially liable for the contamination next to the bases because they knew or should have known of the risks associated with the chemicals on the base. There are at least 27 other similar communities that have filed complaints in this federal lawsuit that could be affected by a decision in this case.

March 1, 2024 – Largest Military Base Water Contamination Case Continues Progress

Bar far the largest litigation ever with respect to contaminated water supplies on military bases reached a new milestone. This week, the four judges overseeing the Camp Lejeune lawsuits have announced the next track of diseases for trial. In Track Two the diseases include: Prostate Cancer, Lung Cancer, Kidney Disease, Breast Cancer, and Liver Cancer. These cases will likely follow the same path as track one, selecting 20 cases per disease for trial. Recently the Court decided that Plaintiff’s will be denied jury trials and instead cases will be decided by individual judges – these are know as bench trials. Track 2 trials are anticipated to take place in 2025. Our firm, King Law, continues to prepare for trial in track one. There are 100 track one trials. One of our clients, a Washington state resident with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, is set for depositions (interviews by the government) in April 2024. We expect our client’s case to go to trial at some point in 2024.

February 13, 2024 – Judge Gergel Approves $1.185 Billion Settlement for PFAS Contamination in Military Base Water Supplies

Federal District Court, Charleston, South Carolina – Judge Gergel has issued an important order in the military base water contamination lawsuit. By order dated February 8, 2024 the Court issued final approval for the first settlement in MDL 2873 In Re: Aqueos Film-Forming Foam Products Liability Litigation. The order approves 1.185 billion dollars for public water suppliers with PFAS in their water supply. The settlement is important because military bases were contaminated the same way as public water supply. This case was all about AFFF getting in the ground water. AFFF was most commonly used on military bases. The product that is the center of this case was a joint venture between the military and 3M. Contamination levels on military bases are often thousands of times higher than the so called “contaminated water supplies” found in the general public. We believe that acceptance of responsibility by the defendants in these water supply cases makes the likelihood of recovery for those that were injured by toxic chemicals on military bases more likely. The settlement will also shift the focus of the case to those that were injured, either through direct exposure to firefighting foam, or through contaminated water. Again, we believe the most contaminated water in the United States is found on military bases. We are accepting cases involving Kidney Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Thyroid Disease and Thyroid Cancer.

February 9, 2024 – North Carolina Court issues important ruling in military water contamination case

The largest military base lawsuit had an important development this week. The Judge in the Camp Lejeune contaminated water lawsuit granted the government’s motion striking the request for jury trials, made by the plaintiffs. The court previously selected 100 track one plaintiff’s. Everyone thought that there would be bellwether jury trials to help set the potential settlement values in this lawsuit. King Law is one of the select firms with a case selected in the bellwether trial pool. The allegations in this lawsuit include severe contamination from 1953 until 1987. A recent study from the ATSDR has indicated that Marines and Civilians on at the Lejeune base had at least a 20% higher chance of many cancers that those stationed at the Pendleton base. Instead of jury trials the Judge will preside over bench trials. This development will give the judges much more power in the court room as they will be the finders of fact, in addition to their typical role as the judge of the law. The plaintiff’s would prefer jury trials presumably because they feel they could get higher damages from a Jury than a Judge. The plaintiff’s have vowed to appeal the decision.

February 3, 2024 – PFAS Water Contamination lawsuits progresses

The military base lawsuit moved forward in a subtle way last week. Judge Gergel conducted the final fairness hearing regarding Defendant 3M in connection with PFAS in the public water supply. These claims are not directly related to personal injury claims for those with PFAS exposure on military bases. However, the injury claims are part of the larger lawsuit. As the big defendants settle the water contaminating cases the PFAS lawsuit has shifted focus to the personal injury claims. We expect 2024 to see big moves in the injury portion of this lawsuit. The personal injury claims are divided between fire fighters exposed to PFAS and individuals exposed to PFAS through contaminated water. There are thousands of military veterans that trained or were exposed to fire fighting foam. In addition, the foam also contaminated the water supply on hundreds of military bases leading to PFAS related injuries. We are accepting Kidney Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Thyroid Disease and Thyroid Cancer cases for people that were exposed to PFAS on military bases. The hearing cleared another the runway for the military base pfas injury lawsuits to move more quickly. The bellwether test trials related to military bases are being prepared for by the lawyers now.

February 1, 2024 – Government Continues Clean up of Military Base Water Contamination

According to US Rep Elissa Slotkin, The Department of Defense plans to install filtration systems near the now closed Wurtsmith Air Force base on Lake Huron. The DoD has admitted to large scale contamination at the military base that closed in 1993. Residents of the area have been instructed to to eat fish or deer from the area. Much of the bases’ contamination is linked to forever chemicals like PFAS, PFOS and PFOA. In addition the site is known to have Benzene and TCE contamination. The pollution there is known to flow down stream through other great lakes and the contamination is added to along the way by other contaminated military sites like the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Mount Clemens, Michigan, and Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station in Niagara Falls, NY. Contamination of such bases has led to thousands of military base PFAS related water contamination lawsuits.

January 18, 2024 – Historic Military Base Lawsuit Trials Loom

The largest military base contamination lawsuit is moving towards trial. The Judge in the Camp Lejeune cases has ordered 100 of the most serious injury cases to proceed with discovery so that bellwether trials can be scheduled as soon as possible. These plaintiffs are deemed to be representative of the thousands of plaintiffs that were exposed to toxic substances at the base. In the past several years the contamination at Camp Lejeune has shed a light on the toxic exposure problem on our military bases. The the government’s ATSDR study proved that the chemicals known as PCE, TCE, Benzene, Vinyl Chloride we present at the base. The government has made document demands of the track 1 plaintiffs. The plaintiff’s responses were Due on January 10, 2024. Plaintiff’s are also providing basic information to the defense in the form of the Plaintiff’s Profile Form. That submission is due on January 19, 2024. Party depositions have begun and are ongoing.

January 9, 2024 – Military Base Water Contamination Lawsuits in 2024

The number of contaminated military base lawsuits is expected to rise this year. Illnesses related to toxic exposure have a typical latency period. Latency is the period from the time of exposure until diagnosis. That means that thousands of veterans and their families that were exposed to toxic substances in the past could be diagnosed this year. The amount of toxic exposure on military bases is very high. A review of the congressional budget offers some clues about the scope of the problem. Last year congress appropriated 2.2 billion dollars for environmental clean up. Sections 321 324 and 328 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 address funding for PFAS clean up. According to the EPA there were 1336 uncontrolled hazardous waste sites on September 7, 2023. The Department of Defense has indicated over 600 military bases have been superfund sites. In addition, the Formerly Used Defense Sites program has identified 5,400 military locations in the United States for cleanup. We are currently accepting cases with diagnosis of Kidney Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Thyroid Disease and Thyroid cancer for people that were exposed to toxic substances at or near military bases.

December 22, 2023 – The Alarming Link Between Military Service and PFAS-Related Health Issues continues to strengthen

Additional evidence mounts supporting the link between military service and cancer from forever chemicals. The department of defense has admitted that over 700 military bases have been contaminated with PFAS chemicals. Nearly every significant military base has some level of PFAS contamination in the ground water. The most common PFAS chemicals are PFOA and PFOS, although there are estimates that over 7000 different PFAS chemicals exist. Most PFAS contamination on military bases comes from firefighting foam. Several studies have linked PFAS to cancer, thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis. Dupont has settled claims from contaminated areas with thousands of individuals and the United States Supreme Court has said that Dupont can no longer assert that PFOA does not cause certain cancers. A recent report from the World Health Organization’s International Agency on Cancer seems to remove all doubt. 30 experts from eleven countries have classified PFAS chemicals as carcinogenic. Veterans served on military bases – military bases have PFAS chemicals – PFAS chemicals cause cancer. More people should be talking about this.

December 15, 2023 – Military Base PFAS Water Contamination Extends Beyond Base Boundaries Putting Communities at Risk

It is well documented that some of the highest level of PFAS concentrations are located on military bases. A recent study focused on how much PFAS was in the water near military bases exists outside the boundary of the bases. As expected, hundreds of locations were found to have PFAS, including the most common PFAS chemicals PFOA and PFOS. The report notes that the Department of Defense will supply clean drinking water if the water supply has over 70 parts per trillion of PFAS. The EPA has indicated that the acceptable level for PFAS in drinking water is 4 parts per trillion. Some of our clients at King Law have received letters from the military indicating a high PFAS test for wells in the area of their home. It is commonly accepted that PFAS can accumulate in human blood and tissue and extended exposure can lead to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease ulcerative colitis and pre-eclampsia. The study showing PFAS testing outside the lines of military bases can be found HERE.

November 26, 2023 – Congress expresses urgency to address PFAS contamination on military bases

The United States Senate, in a bipartisan letter has continued to apply pressure to the Department of Defense because of the PFAS contamination on US military bases. In their recent letter to Secretary of Defense a bipartisan group of senators indicated their understanding of the serious health consequences of PFAS exposure and demanded action by the military. The senators seems to show that PFAS cleanup will be a priority for the government. We are investigating cases involving PFAS exposure on military bases through both direct exposure to AFFF firefighting foam and PFAS drinking water exposure.

November 24, 2023 – The Push to make VA Disability presumptive for illnesses caused by PFAS exposure

The VA continues to send mix messages about the health affects of PFAS chemicals on military bases. The VA pays lip service to the negative health implications of PFAS exposure. The VA also says that PFAS exposure can cause illnesses depending on the toxicity level, frequency and duration of PFAS exposure. However the PFAS exposure is not a presumptive illness for VA disability benefits. The VA website on PFAS can be found here.

Several elected officials as well as various service organizations including DAV have pushed the VA to make PFAS injuries presumptive for military disability benefits. Veterans can apply for disability benefits for PFAS exposure. In addition our law firm is accepting claims nationwide to hold the chemical companies accountable for their role in the contamination. The Department of Defense has admitted to elevated levels of PFAS on over 700 military bases. We are accepting claims for Kindney Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Thyroid Disease, Pre-eclampsia and Ulcerative Colitis.

November 20, 2023 – DOD Continues to Release Data Regarding PFAS Military Base Contamination Sites

The Department of Defense continues to investigate and further admit to high levels of PFAS exposure at hundreds of military bases around the world. The DOD provided the attached report to the United States House of Representatives and Senate in September detailing 707 known PFAS contamination sites. Interestingly the government relied on the EPA’s modeling to determine whether public water sources are threatened using the EPA contamination website that shows PFAS contamination sites. The EPA is proposing PFAS, PFOS, PFOA and X levels in the low single digits. Many military bases have levels hundreds or thousands of times higher than that. It seems logical to us then that the DOD is accepting what EPA is saying and will eventually admit that thousands of veterans and their families were made sick because of heightened PFAS levels on military bases. We believe that much of that PFAS contamination came from AFFF a/k/a firefighting foam. It is nearly impossible to dispute that high levels of PFAS exposure can cause Kidney Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Thyroid Disease, Pre-Eclampsia and Ulcerative Colitis. Our firm is investigating these cases. We believe that there may be a PFAS lawsuit against the chemical companies that produced AFFF firefighting foam. The information coming out of the DOD makes it almost impossible to believe that a veteran was not exposed to high levels of PFAS sometime during their military service. If you or a loved one have or had Kidney Cancer, Testicular Cancer, Thyroid Disease, Pre-eclampsia or Ulcerative Colitis this could be the reason why.

September 2023 – Over 4,600 military servicemembers and civilians file legal claims related to water contamination at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. The claims relate to a jet fuel spill at the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Facility that reported contaminated drinking water causing significant harm.

September 2023 – In a briefing to Congress on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Groundwater, the DoD acknowledges that 707 military installations have been identified as potentially contaminated with PFAS. 245 sites are identified as being in the proximity of groundwater aquifers that serve as a “primary or secondary source of drinking water.”

August 2023 – To date, over 27 Attorney Generals have initiated lawsuits against PFAS manufacturers, and thousands of claims have been filed.

June 2023 – Multi-million dollar settlements announced against manufacturers of PFAS-containing products, including 3M and Dupont.

March 2022 – The DoD’s task force releases a progress report of the now 700 potentially contaminated military installations. Many of the sites are listed as under preliminary assessment or site inspection.

July 2021 – In a Public Outreach Presentation on PFAS by the Department of Defense, the military announces that they have invested $90 million through Fiscal Year 2021 to research the problem and expedite the cleanup process at the identified sites. An additional $70 million investment is announced through Fiscal Year 2025.

March 2020 – The Department of Defense (DoD) releases a PFAS task force progress report detailing its progress. In connection with this release, the Department identifies 651 sites being assessed for contamination.

December 2019 – The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act is signed into law prohibiting the uncontrolled release of fluorinated aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). AFFF is a fire-fighting foam used by the military since the 1970s that is known to contain forever chemicals known as PFAS.

July 2019 – The Secretary of Defense creates a task force to address the military’s use and the Department of Defense’s approach to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

March 2019 – In a hearing on the Federal response to the risks associated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies 180 military locations as “superfund sites” with PFAS contamination.

Overview: Military Base Water Contamination Lawsuit

Since the 1970s, the U.S. Department of Defense has used products containing dangerous chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. These toxic substances are known as “forever chemicals” because of perseverance in the environment. PFAS have been linked to adverse health conditions, including an increased risk of cancer. Nearly all blood samples collected by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate the presence of PFAS.

In March 2020, the Department of Defense releases a study indicating the presence of PFAS at over 650 military sites nationwide. By 2023, the number of identified installations with potential PFAS contamination grows to over 700. Cleanup efforts are underway at many of these sites, including those with known groundwater contamination. If you were diagnosed with a PFAS-related cancer, contact our office to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. King Law has experienced water contamination attorneys who are accepting cases nationwide.

On this page:

List of Military Bases with Contaminated Water

In 2019, in testimony to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, 180 military locations were identified as “superfund sites” with PFAS contamination. A superfund site is the informal name given to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). Designation as a superfund site provides funds and authority to the  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clean up the location.

Military installations designated as superfund sites include but are not limited to:

Source: Environmental Working Group (EWG) – Interactive maps for PFAS contamination in the U.S. and military installations.

Over the past four years, additional inquiries have found PFAS contamination at hundreds of other military installations, including in the groundwater. Groundwater contamination frequently comes from the military’s use of PFAS-containing products such as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), jet fuel, and industrial solvents.

Sources of Military Base Water Contamination

While the use of PFAS is widespread, thereby making it difficult to determine what caused the contamination, the increased presence of the toxic chemicals near military installations is concerning. Studies show that the military’s continued use of PFAS-containing products such as Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) can easily infiltrate the soil seeping into the groundwater and aquifer, which are primary and secondary sources of drinking water for some communities.

Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF)

3M and the United States Department of the Navy filed for a patent application for AFFF firefighting foam in 1963. The patent for firefighting foam was granted in 1966. This chemical has been used to smother fires on military bases since the mid 1960’s. The foam does not break down at high temperatures, so it is valuable in extinguishing jet fuel fires or fires on board ships and has been used in active fires and training on military bases for decades. AFFF firefighting foam contains PFAS chemicals. The most common PFAS chemicals are PFOA and PFOS.

Military bases used large amounts of AFFF firefighting foam. A significant portion of all military base contamination comes from this foam. Many of the most contaminated in the United States areas are on or around military bases. The proposed standard from the EPA for PFAS is 4 parts per trillion. There are hundreds of bases with over 4 parts per trillion of PFAS chemicals in their water. Some military bases have over a million parts per trillion of PFAS in their water. The DoD has consistently stated they are aware of the PFAS contamination problem and will take action to clean the contamination. In January of 2023 the Department of Defense issued new guidance on the use of firefighting foam in the military and on military bases in the future.

Most PFAS contamination on military bases comes from training with AFFF firefighting foam. Common sense says that it is important to be able to put out fires quickly and efficiently near large quantities of fuel like diesel fuel or jet fuel. Firefighting is an important job in the military and on military bases. Firefighting foam was used in training at many military bases on a regular basis. Since 2020 training with AFFF on military bases has been prohibited, except a few locations. AFFF looks like dish soap. It is sprayed out of hoses to smother fires. If an airplane catches on fire, it would be doused with foam to prevent it from blowing up. training exercises usually involved spraying AFFF firefighting foam on the ground. The foam, and the PFAS chemicals it contained would then contaminate the ground around the training location. The contaminated ground would then leach PFAS chemicals into the groundwater and expose everyone to the PFAS chemicals that consumed the water.

There is an active lawsuit involving AFFF firefighting foam. Our law firm is representing firefighters from around the United States for illness caused by their on-the-job exposure. We are representing firefighters exposed on military bases as well as municipal firefighters.

Jet Fuel

Fuel leaks are a significant source of military base contamination. In November 2021, a jet fuel leak from the Red Hill fuel storage facility on the island of Oahu contaminated the water system that served over 93,000 people. Shortly after the spill, residents near the military installation at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam began reporting complaints of serious illness. A sample of the water found that it had been contaminated by dangerous toxins and forever chemicals, including benzene, toluene, and xylene. The storage facility had previously released fuel in May 2021 and January 2014, resulting in contaminated water.

In addition fuel leakage has contributed to the contamination at Camp Lejeune. The government has been studying the contamination at Camp Lejeune since at least 1984, when they began detecting Benzene in the water at Hadnot point. By 1988 on study indicated a layer of fuel on top of the water table near the Hadnot Point industrial area at Camp Lejeune. In 1993 another study at Camp Lejeune indicated that buried fuel tanks around the base were contributing to contamination.

Fuel leaks pose a risk to human health. The area affected by a fuel leak that puts pollutants into the ground and ground water increases over time as toxic substances move out away from the original point of contamination. The plume associated with toxic substances in groundwater will often times nearly double in size from five years after a fuel leak until ten years after a fuel leak. According to the EPA, the majority of buried fuel tanks leak within ten years of their installation. Fuel tanks on military bases leak just like fuel tanks at gas stations. However, the size of fuel storage tanks on military bases poses a significant risk because of their size. Other reports indicate that sometimes military bases would receive more fuel than they could store because of logistical mistakes. In some cases the excess fuel would simply be dumped onto the ground because there was nowhere else to dispose of it

Industrial Solvents

Since as early as the 1950s, the military has used industrial solvents with potentially harmful chemicals and toxins. The most famous example is the contamination of water from dry cleaning water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The waste reportedly contained toxic contaminants like trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), which seeped into the ground leading to drinking water contamination and sickening countless servicemembers and their families.

Landfills and Waste Sites

Landfills and waste disposal areas have also become the origins of water pollution on military bases across the U.S. Improperly disposed chemicals cause long-term seepage into the groundwater, resulting in contamination for decades. At Camp Lejeune, industrial solvents and other contaminants in a landfill were improperly discarded, leading to further water contamination and exposing servicemembers to toxic chemicals.

Leaking Underground Storage Tanks

Poorly maintained underground storage tanks have also caused significant water contamination, such as at Camp Lejeune and Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman. Underground storage tanks are frequently left unmonitored, making detection of leaks difficult until the problem is widespread, such as the case at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman. Regulations now require the replacement of single-walled Underground Storage Tanks (USTs). All USTs must also now have proper monitoring devices attached to them, but many still exist that lack these features.

Contaminants in Military Drinking Water

When tested, drinking water near military installations across the country contained a number of contaminants known to cause harm when ingested by humans. While the widespread use of products containing many of these “forever chemicals” means that the pollutants may have originated from various sources, there are certain chemicals frequently found at military sites.

The contaminants found in the groundwater at military locations nationwide can cause adverse health conditions, including an increased risk of cancer, reproductive harm, and life-threatening diseases. If you have been diagnosed with an illness after exposure to contaminated water at a military site, it is strongly recommended that you speak to an attorney.

Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

For decades, the military has used products containing PFAS, including the fire-fighting foam AFFF. It is believed that the military’s use of AFFF and other PFAS-containing products led to water contamination at over 700 installations nationwide, including at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Exposure to PFAS can cause an increased risk:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple-Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis

While PFAS are present in a number of consumer products, the military’s continued use of AFFF may have put people at an increased risk of harm. It is important to consult with an attorney if you have received a diagnosis of a PFAS-related condition. The EPA has regulated the acceptable levels of PFAS in the nation’s water supply.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is an industrial solvent that was widely used on military bases. In the fall of 2023 the EPA proposed it’s ban for most uses. TCE is a Volatile Organic Compound that evaporates quickly in air or surface water. The contamination problem with TCE is largely related to its tendency to pool at the bottom of underground water supplies. “Toxicological Profile for Trichloroethylene” (ATSDR, June 2019). TCE was first produced in the United States in Niagara Falls, NY in 1925. By 1932 doctors were aware that TCE was fatal at high doses.

TCE appeared on military bases almost immediately. Production of TCE was “essential to the war effort” according to the World War II war production board. By 1944 75 million pounds of TCE was purchased by the military. Therefore, widespread military base contamination began by the 1940’s. TCE was considered volatile by the military and it was not a widely known cause of contamination until the 1970s. The military seems to have believed that volatile compounds would evaporate quickly, so they disposed of TCE by pouring it on the ground. Instead, large amounts of TCE disposed of contaminated the ground water. TCE was not a known carcinogen for many years leading to even more relaxed disposal practices.

TCE was largely used as a degreasing agent by the 1960s. There have been widespread studies on TCE contamination on military bases including Fort Ord, Hill Air Force Base and Camp Lejeune. According to military records most toxic chemicals were poured on the ground or barrels were placed into holes and buried. “Initial Assessment Study of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune North Carolina” (Naval Energy and Environmental Support Activity, April 1983). The Department of Defense has repeatedly admitted to the dangers of TCE and the exposure of veterans and their families through both drinking water and environmental inhalation.

The National Cancer Institute found TCE to be a cancer causing carcinogen in 1976. A leading study from 2013 found that TCE is linked to cancer from all exposure pathways is toxic to the:

  • Kidneys
  • Liver
  • Male Reproductive System
  • Central Nervous System
  • Immune System

In January 2023, the EPA released its final revised risk determination for trichloroethylene (TCE). It found that the substance “presents an unreasonable risk of injury to human health under its conditions of use” and is considering what actions to take to regulate its use.


The military’s use of industrial solvents containing dangerous chemicals such as benzene is prevalent. Multiple federal agencies have placed regulations on the maximum permissible level of benzene in drinking water, including the EPA. The EPA limit is 5 parts benzene per billion parts of water (5 ppb).

Benzene is a colorless liquid with a distinctive sweet odor that evaporates into the air and dissolves in water. Benzene is common on military bases. Benzene is naturally occurring in the environment and produced by man. Every day you are exposed to some level of benzene. Most exposure is from the air. Trace levels of Benzene come from volcanic eruptions, burning coal and oil, and car exhausts. About half of the exposure to benzene comes from smoking cigarettes. Benzene is also a common chemical manufactured from Petroleum. Several studies, including those done by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) have documented the sources of contaminants such as Benzyne. Most benzene in the environment, especially in highly contaminated areas, comes from petroleum.

According to the National Cancer Institute, air around hazardous waste sites and gas stations contain more Benzene. Industries that use or make Benzene also have elevated levels and higher exposure. Benzene is generally used in industrial applications including chemicals and gasoline. Military bases have large amounts of Benzene because of their jet fuel, diesel fuel and gasoline. Several solvents used for cleaning military vehicles and weapons also contain Benzene.

Benzene Lawsuits often claim that employers allowed exposure to Benzene at unsafe levels and caused illnesses, usually cancer. Some lawyers have filed class action or personal injury lawsuits alleging unsafe levels of Benzene in consumer products. The largest current lawsuit involving Benzene is the Camp Lejeune Military Base water contamination lawsuit. The Pact act was signed into law in August of 2022 and allowed Marines that were at Camp Lejeune two years to file a claim for contamination at the Military Base Camp Lejeune for the time period of 1953 – 1987. Our lawyers are actively engaged in military base lawsuits including Camp Lejeune claims. According to the EPA at least ten sites at the base have Benzene contamination.

Symptoms and Health Effects of Drinking Contaminated Water

Drinking contaminated water can be extremely detrimental to your health. Ingestion of toxic chemicals such as PFAS, trichloroethylene and benzene can increase your risk of developing cancer, affect your nervous system, and cause reproductive harm. It is in your best interest to consult with an attorney if you believe that you were exposed to contaminated water.

Drinking contaminated water may cause:

  • An increased risk of certain cancers
  • Infertility
  • Damage to your bones and blood marrow
  • Respiratory issues
  • Reproductive harm
  • Weakened immune system
  • Neurological disorders
  • Liver damage
  • Changes in fetal and child development

Many times the signs and symptoms of drinking contaminated water are relatively mild at first. They may include frequent headaches, frequent bouts of dizziness, and feelings of nausea. Over time with increased exposure, the symptoms will get worse, potentially becoming life-threatening. It is essential to obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional.

Military Base Water Contamination Lawsuit

Our firm is currently evaluating cases for potential military base water contamination lawsuits including:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple-Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Testicular Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Thyroid Disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis

Military Water Contamination Lawsuit Compensation Evaluation

If you were diagnosed with a condition related to drinking contaminated water at a military installation, you might be entitled to compensation. Our team can evaluate your individual situation which will help determine whether you should pursue legal action and how much your case may be worth.

Thousands of legal claims are being filed across the country related to contaminated drinking water. It is believed that these cases, including those against manufacturers of PFAS-containing products, may result in multi-million dollar jury verdicts. PFAS military base water contamination settlements could range from $100,000-$500,000 depending on the severity of the case.

How to File a Military Water Contamination Lawsuit

In order to file a military water contamination lawsuit, you need to consult with an attorney. During your consultation, you will want to provide vital evidence, including your medical records, military directives, and discharge paperwork, if applicable.

The more information you can provide related to your condition and your service, the better. Water contamination lawsuits may take several months or longer to resolve. An attorney can help guide you through the process so you know what to anticipate.

Contact a Water Contamination Lawyer

Were you diagnosed with an illness or adverse health condition after drinking contaminated water at a military base? Contact our office to discuss your case with an experienced member of our legal team. At King Law, we have decades of experience handling complex cases, including those against the military. We will work to get you the compensation you deserve.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which military bases have contaminated water?
Over 180 sites have been listed as superfund sites requiring EPA cleanup. Additional inquiries have identified additional sites.
How many military bases have contaminated water?
To date, there are over 700 sites that have been identified as having some form of contamination.
Is there a lawsuit for contaminated water on military bases?
Thousands of lawsuits have been filed based on contaminated water at military bases across the country.
Who qualifies for a military base water contamination lawsuit?
Individuals who have suffered a verifiable adverse health condition related to water contamination at a military base.
What contaminants are present in toxic military drinking water?
Several contaminants are present in toxic military drinking water, including PFAS, Trichloroethylene (TCE), and benzene.
What are the main sources of water contamination on military bases?
The main sources of water contamination on military bases are the use of AFFF, jet fuel spills, industrial solvents, landfills and waste sites, and leaking underground storage tanks.