Go to contents

Oil leak found at closed U.S. Army base

Posted October. 24, 2000 12:33,   


An allegation of willful negligence has been brought against the government in connection with the area surrounding an army base closed down 30 years ago which continues to show signs of serious oil leakage from underground oil storage tanks.

"From the oil storage tank of the U.S. Army, which was in active use for nearly 20 years since the 1950s, about 240,000 pyongs of land in the area around Munhak Mountain in Inchon has faced serious environmental pollution due to oil leakage," according to a Green Korea United statement released at a press conference Monday at the Christian Coalition Hall. "The government has known of this problem and has neglected its duty."

Green Korea United disclosed the government knew of the problem and attempted to cover it up.

"In 1997, a feasibility study for establishment of a civil defense training facility led to the discovery by the City of Inchon of the serious pollution,¡± the statement said. ¡°The authorities decided at the time to simply ignore the problem by covering up the area with more soil."

Green Korea United also stated, "In the early 1960s, there was an incident reported by residents in the area of a large fire, which started from a burning cigarette igniting the oil spilled from the underground tanks into the water system in the area."

As concrete evidence, Green Korea United submitted photos of the pools of oil in the area and a sample of the soil.

Green Korea United called for an immediate environmental investigation of the Munhak Mountain area, along with studies of all areas currently and in the past in use by the U.S. Army. Green Korea United further called for a study of the effects of the pollution on the residents of the Munhak Mountain region.

Chung Seong-Hee shchung@donga.com