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Fort Devens, Massachusetts Poisoned Our Water

by Civilian Exposure

The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.


Yes, investigate Fort Devens, Massachusetts! Their contaminated well system supplied/supplies the entire post community with cancer causing contaminated water. It’s now one of many designated military Superfund sites as of I believe 1989. When I (and countless others) served 1981-1984, there was horribly contaminated water pumped through the well water system to every innocent person on post. Also, the buildings/barracks we lived in, slept in, worked in, swept and cleaned were built with asbestos (also a cancer causing source).

Kidney cancer is a silent killer. I have no family history. My doctor discovered a very slow growing form of it (my doctors words) growing on my right kidney. I was told this at Mass General hospital after my surgeon removed my kidney and had read the lab’s tumor biopsy analysis.  My surgeon had to remove my entire kidney – it was covered in the cancer tumor. That was in 2008.

Now a few months ago in 2018 while assisting an elderly retired Naval officer, they randomly mentioned that he probably got his kidney and bladder cancer while serving for a few months of time in the Navy at Fort Devens, MA. I nearly fell over, as I served at Devens about two years, lived in Massachusetts, and never heard a peep from any source about Fort Deven’s water system cancer-causing contamination. Nor did I hear about the buildings we were in 24/7 were/are built with cancer causing asbestos.

I served my country in the Army. I did not sign up to give my kidney up. Nor did I sign up for the chance of contracting a terminal illness while serving that could end my life prematurely. It makes me angry! No one in our government warned us even after Fort Devens, Massachusetts was designated a Superfund site (1989) due to substantial (documented by the EPA) CANCER-causing evidence of prolific contamination of the well water system supporting the community of Fort Devens.


Note: The author currently resides in Massachusetts. Their account/editorial is posted verbatim from the author with only minor grammatical edits, and the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.

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