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Exclusive: Marines at Quantico forced to use mysterious dark brown water in barracks for months

Marine showing water in their barracks. (Courtesy of the Marine/Provided to American Military News)
February 07, 2018

About 150 Marines living at Marine Base Quantico have reportedly been dealing with “atrocious barracks water” in their living quarters since as early as May 2017, American Military News has learned.

Videos and pictures provided by a source who wishes to remain anonymous show brown water coming from a sink and shower. The anonymous source told American Military News: “We are forced to shower and brush our teeth with this water, and we have no idea what we’re doing to our bodies.”

The source lives in one of the barracks and said others who live in the same barracks claim the water has been that way for at least a year prior. They also said they have to run the water for several minutes before it turns clear, and that they only drink bottled water and try to always use the shower at the base gym. It was unclear if the water situation is the same at all the other barracks on base.

American Military News spoke to Maj. Andrew Bormann, from Marine Base Quantico’s Communication Strategy and Operations (formerly known as Public Affairs), who stated he had no knowledge of a building with water quality issues spanning that long. However, in regards to a recently renovated building that had brown water, he said: “We are aware of the issue, and are taking appropriate measures in accordance with installation policy, state and federal regulations.”

Maj. Andrew Bormann said, “Marines have to report these things to their facilities manager; we can’t fix what we don’t know is wrong.”

When asked when the issue would be fixed, he responded: “As soon as possible.”

After American Military News’ inquiry to Quantico’s Communication Strategy and Operations, we learned the base facilities department conducted a “spot-check” of every building on base following the inquiry, and results were reportedly “within standards.”

In the days since informing American Military news of their conditions, the anonymous source said: “Now it’s only a little brown… But since we have talked, there has been at least three work trucks here on the daily.”

Bormann also pointed to the base water safety website that lists information such as the hotline to report water discoloration in base housing, flushing schedules and water quality reports.

Bormann said there is typically a non-commissioned officer, either a Corporal or Sergeant, who is assigned as barracks manager. They are given the duty of conducting inspections and reporting violations of the standard to the appropriate chain of command or maintenance department.

Controversy surrounded Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune several decades ago when personnel and family members drank and bathed with tap water from as early as 1953 through 1987 that was tainted with harmful chemicals at concentrations from 240 to 3,400 times levels allowed by safety standards.

The Lejeune incident led to lawsuits over claims that Marine Corps leaders willfully ignored and hid the dangers that led to many on base developing cancer and other medical complications.

In 2009, the U.S. federal government began an investigation into the matter. In 2012, then-President Barack Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act. This was inspired by the death of Jane Ensminger, a 9-year-old who died from leukemia due to the contaminated water she consumed during at Camp Lejeune.

The Act began to provide medical treatment for those who may have been affected by the water contamination.