Fort Bragg Water Contamination Lawsuit Overview
Fort Bragg, originally called Camp Bragg, and now known as Fort Liberty, was one of three camps established in North Carolina in 1918 to train World War I soldiers. After the war, Fort Bragg leveraged the area’s diverse landscape to test the effectiveness of long-range artillery. During World War II it became a testing ground for airborne units and has been the center of many military combat and humanitarian efforts. Today, Fort Bragg is known as the “Home of Airborne and Special Operations” and is one of the largest military bases in the entire world with a population of around 54,000 military personnel.
Unfortunately, Fort Bragg soldiers are now facing severe health risks from contaminated drinking water and other environmental risks. Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF), a fire suppressant used to extinguish high temperature and fuel bases fires. It was used heavily at Fort Bragg and introduced toxic chemicals called polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), into the water systems. PFAS is among a group of other toxic chemicals commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because they are extremely difficult to break down and build up over time in the environment and the body. As a result, victims of toxic exposure to PFAS (or other PFAS related chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid [PFOA], and perfluorooctane sulfonate [PFOS]), have filed a lawsuit to recover damages for the injuries they sustained as a result of being exposed to the contaminated water at Fort Bragg.
Fort Bragg Water Contamination Lawsuit Updates
Lawsuits and updates continue to unfold from victims of Fort Bragg’s water contamination and other environmental hazards. Read more below.
March 2023 – EPA Recommends Stricter Standards for Drinking Water
In March 2023, the EPA issued a proposal for the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR), to place stricter regulations on the levels of PFAS allowed in water. The newly proposed advisories include a limit of 0.004 ppt for PFOA and 0.02 ppt for PFOS.
December 2022 – Study Shows Contaminated Water Was Provided to More than 175,000 Military Members
In December 2022, the EWG released information from an April 2022, Department of Defense study noting how the Pentagon provided PFAS-contaminated water to 175,000 military personnel each year at 24 different bases.
March 2020 – EWG Data Shows Water Contamination at Multiple Military Bases
In March 2020, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), released data showing that more than a dozen military bases had PFAS-contaminated drinking water, including Fort Bragg. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), guidelines, PFOS and PFOA levels can not exceed 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Although testing data from Fort Bragg showed a maximum detection of 62.1 ppt., the U.S. Army website states that levels had reached 95 ppt during a test of a remote Fort Bragg training location in 2020.
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History of Contaminated Water at Fort Bragg
AFFF is a fire suppressant foam used in excess at Fort Bragg. Over time, chemicals in the foam, (including PFAS), entered the water table, presenting risks to military personnel and their families.
In February 2019, the EPA created the first-ever PFAS Action Plan to address the growing concerns about the water contamination at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In September 2019, the EPA was awarded almost $6 million in funding for PFAS water contamination research.
In February 2020, the Pentagon shared its finding of contaminated drinking water and groundwater at more than 600 military sites and nearby communities, including Fort Bragg. This, of course, was much higher than their original estimates of how many areas were affected by PFAS contamination as well as other toxic chemicals like trichloroethylene (TCE). At first, the report stated that none of the drinking water exceeded the set regulation of 70 ppt. However, the EWG-related data showed that PFAS contamination met and exceeded state-set regulations.
The EWG first published a news release regarding water contamination at Fort Bragg and other military sites on March 23, 2020. Fort Bragg was listed as one of the most contaminated military sites.
In December 2022, local news reported that Fort Bragg had PFAS levels ranging as high as 98 ppt. Furthermore, a September report from the Department of Defense (DoD), focused on members of the military but failed to include the risk posed to families who lived on base. In many cases, this involved pregnant women and children who, oftentimes, are more susceptible to the health risks associated with PFAS-contaminated water exposure.
Fort Bragg Water Contamination Map
The map above provides a glimpse of the extent of water contamination at Fort Bragg. Using the Key, you can see the sources of potential contamination and how widespread Fort Bragg water quality issues have become.
Fort Bragg Toxic Exposure: Contaminants Found in Drinking Water
PFAS are currently the only publicly identified drinking water contaminants at Fort Bragg. As mentioned above, the group of chemicals known as PFAS can be further broken down into subcategories called PFOS and PFOA, both of which are strongly associated with life-threatening illnesses and conditions, including cancer.
After further research into these chemicals and their risks, the EPA has proposed limits of 0.02 ppt for PFOS and 0.004 ppt for PFOA. Water quality reports taken from Fort Bragg, however, have shown levels of PFOS exceeding these limitations by more than 1,100 times, while levels of PFOA were found exceeding their limits by 6,400 times. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), notes that the extent of PFAS-related health risks can depend on several aspects of exposure like amount, frequency, and duration. Therefore higher levels, such as those seen at Fort Bragg, can pose a higher risk to individuals depending on their particular circumstances..
Health Risks and Symptoms from Fort Bragg’s Drinking Water
If you or a loved one experience any potential symptoms of illness from contaminated drinking water, it’s crucial to seek care from a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Research continues to develop regarding how PFAS can impact human health. Some known health risks include:
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Male breast cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Liver cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Thyroid disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
The ATSDR also notes how PFAS can lead to:
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Weakened vaccine effectiveness
- Changes in liver enzymes
- Decreases in birth weight
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- Pre-eclampsia during pregnancy
Testicular cancer, kidney cancer (renal cancer), and prostate cancer are of particular concern with water contamination at Fort Bragg. If you suspect you’ve been exposed to contaminated drinking water, seek guidance from a healthcare professional as soon as possible to know what signs to look out for and when to pursue treatment.
Current Water Quality at Fort Bragg
The U.S. Army conducts regular testing of its drinking water systems. The last test conducted at Fort Bragg was done in March of 2023 and found PFOA and PFOS levels of 12.3 ppt in “finished drinking water.” The U.S. Army website listed the next testing date in June 2023, which has yet to be updated.
The website does note how a Fort Bragg remote training location had test results that exceeded the EPA lifetime health advisory (LHA) of 70 ppt, with a result of 95 ppt. It also notes, “An alternative water source is being provided until a long-term solution is implemented.” However, military personnel and their families have already been exposed to the unhealthy water quality in the years leading up to this testing.
Determining Eligibility in the Fort Bragg Water Contamination Lawsuit
When filing a Fort Bragg water contamination lawsuit, some eligibility criteria must be met. However, you should consult with an experienced attorney as they may be able to help you qualify if you think you’re ineligible. Typically, to qualify for a lawsuit you or a loved one must have:
- Been stationed at Fort Bragg for at least one cumulative year
- Military records confirming your time at Fort Bragg
- A diagnosis of an illness related to toxic exposure
- Medical records confirming your diagnosis
- Any other documentation supporting your time at Fort Bragg, exposure to environmental toxins, and development of a related condition
Our law firm is currently evaluating cases of those diagnosed with:
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Thyroid Disease (incl. hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism)
With the help of a compassionate, experienced attorney, you can confirm your eligibility and the next steps to seeking the compensation you deserve.
Fort Bragg Water Contamination Settlement and Payout Amounts
Victims of water contamination at Fort Bragg may be eligible to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars or more in payouts. The actual amount can vary based on the individual case, so it’s best to discuss with an experienced lawyer to understand what compensation you may be entitled to.
The number of cases continues to grow for various military sites with water contamination. Potential settlement payouts for injuries caused by this sort of water contamination range from $30,000 to $500,000. Payout amounts range primarily based on the type of diagnosis and duration of exposure. For example, individuals with life-threatening conditions like cancer who were exposed for years may be entitled to a larger payout.
Statute of Limitations for Fort Bragg Water Case
There is a statute of limitations for Fort Bragg water cases where victims have a certain time limit during which they must file their lawsuit to be eligible for compensation. Statutes of limitations vary based on the state and individual case circumstances. Typically, claimants must file within one to two years following their diagnosis. However, some states, such as New Hampshire have extended their time limits to up to six years to allow those suffering from PFAS-related illnesses more time to take legal action. To help ensure the best chance of having a successful claim, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to begin the process.
How to File a Fort Bragg Water Contamination Claim
If you feel that you or a loved one have been impacted by Fort Bragg water contamination and are seeking damages, contact a legal professional to determine your lawsuit eligibility. Though it can vary, here are the steps you usually must follow to file a claim:
- Gather any documentation you have supporting your time at Fort Bragg and medical diagnosis.
- Contact a reputable law firm experienced in handling such cases.
- Work with your lawyer to confirm your eligibility.
- Help your lawyer gather and finalize evidence to support your claim.
- Your lawyer will help you file your claim.
- If approved, your lawyer will help you understand the timeline for receiving compensation.
Please note that obtaining your military and medical records will help speed up the process and potentially the timeline to getting compensation.
Evidence to Support Your Fort Bragg Claim
Evidence that can help support your claim for Fort Bragg water contamination includes:
- Military records proving you were stationed at or within one mile of a contaminated area at Fort Bragg
- Military records proving you spent at least one cumulative year at Fort Bragg
- Military records proving you were in active duty during the time of exposure to contaminated drinking water
- Medical records proving your diagnosis of an illness or condition related to toxic exposure
- Any documentation showing the medical appointments and costs associated with your diagnosis and treatment
Documentation showing your time of service at Fort Bragg and proof of a medical diagnosis linked to water contamination is necessary to move forward with a successful claim.
Fort Bragg Water Contamination Lawyers
To improve your chances of filing a successful Fort Bragg water contamination claim, you should choose a reputable law firm experienced in handling toxic exposure cases, such as King Law. King Law attorneys offer compassion and expertise to help you navigate the complexities of your case and work hard to get you the compensation you’re entitled to.
From evaluating your eligibility and helping you gather the required documentation to filing the claim and representing your case, King Law has the experience needed to fight for you with confidence. The attorneys at King Law understand the difficulties individuals face when battling an illness associated with toxic environmental exposure and are dedicated to taking the legal stress off of your shoulders so you can focus on your health and recovery.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you’re considering a Fort Bragg water contamination lawsuit, consider the following frequently asked questions.