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Contaminated Underground Water And Soil in Yongsan Base

Posted July. 26, 2001 10:04,   


The soil and underground water near Yongsan Base of Eighth United States Army (EUSA) was found to be contaminated by an oil leak.

Upon the request of Seoul Metropolitan government, which is investigating the contamination source of the underground water near Noksapyung subway station of Line 6, the US Armed forces in Korea (USAF) drilled 13 holes around the gas stations in Yongsan Base and confirmed that there were 9 contaminated places which covered 15-17 meters below the ground as of July 10 officially.

Accordingly, the Korea government and USAF are expected to discuss the environmental issue of soil and underground waters in the U.S. owned bases and training camps (40 millions pyung) which the USAF is scheduled to return to Korea, which merged as a hot topic now.

Lee, Youngsung, who is in charge of the water quality preservation in Seoul City, said on July 25, ``The USAF drilled 13 holes of 5-7 cm diameters in Southpost camp, logistics support unit, which is close to Noksapyung station. As a result, 6 holes on the north of the oil storage facility and 3 holes on the south were found to have `oil signatures`, which will be the evidences of underground water contaminations.

After receiving such results from the USAF, Seoul Metropolitan Government dispatched an investigation team composed of environment department officials and experts three times from June 30 until July 10, confirmed that some areas were seriously contaminated by gasoline down to the bedrock. Kim, Youngkyu, Public Affairs Officer of the USAF, said, ``Although the detailed numbers cannot be released now, it is true that oil was found in the drilled holes in the base.

Future joint investigation of Korea and U.S Army will reveal the whole aspects clearly.``

Last January, Seoul Metropolitan Government discovered gasoline and kerosene in the man-hole near Noksapyung station and gasoline ingredient in the USAF base. It said, ``The ingredients found in Noksapyung man-holes were similar to high-quality gasoline used in the USAF.

Whether or not the leaked oil really reached Noksapyung station, which is distanced 200 meters, it will need further investigation.``

Since the USAF requested sample analysis to outside institution separately, Seoul Metropolitan Government is waiting for the results. As soon as the information is available, Seoul City plans to hold a joint meeting with the USAF to discuss the measures. Now, Seoul City is removing the leaking oil by installing a separate bypass pipe, after confirming that 10 liter oil is leaking per day on average.

Meanwhile, Green Korea United issued a statement, saying, `` This accident is a clear evidence that the USAF authorities hadn’t taken any corrective steps ever since the poison release to Han River last July.`` They also urged the USAF to punish the responsible parties and make an apology.