Elemental mercury discovered in pipe at Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant: Tests confirm no mercury in water supply

27 Sep 2012 | MCIEAST-MCB CAMLEJ Public Affairs

During routine maintenance of the Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant on Sept. 15, workers found a silvery substance later determined to be non-soluble, elemental mercury in a pipe within the facility.  Tests conducted after the discovery showed no mercury detected in the water supply.  Additionally, in accordance with federal and state regulations, the drinking water aboard Camp Lejeune is tested every three years for mercury, most recently in May 2012. None of these tests detected mercury. The appropriate federal and state agencies were informed.  Areas normally serviced by the Hadnot Point WTP are currently being supplied by the Holcomb Boulevard WTP. These include the Hadnot Point Industrial Area, Hospital Point, French Creek and Courthouse Bay. 

Decades ago, the water treatment industry used water pressure meters that contained elemental mercury, not to be confused with the more widely-known organic mercury associated with fish. These meters were removed from the WTP in the 1980s.  Drinking water at Camp Lejeune continues to meet all government drinking water standards and is tested more often than required.

The base contracted Shamrock Environmental Corporation out of New Bern, N.C. to oversee the clean up and investigation of Hadnot Point Water Treatment Plant.  Beginning this past Tuesday, workers started using cameras in non-accessible areas within the piping and reservoir to determine if mercury settled elsewhere in the plant. Officials do not expect the plant to be brought back online for at least two more weeks.

For Camp Lejeune's annual water quality reports, please see: