By Lee Tae-hoon
An opposition lawmaker Tuesday disclosed a 2011 U.S. environment assessment draft report that documents water contamination caused by chemical disposal at Camp Carroll in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province.
According to the draft obtained by Rep. Hong Hee-deok of the minority opposition Democratic Labor Party, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Far East District (FED) identified a leak of toxic chemicals into water at the U.S. logistics base in 2004.
“The size of the waste buried cell was approximately 25 meters long, 14 meters wide and 6 meters deep.” the report said.
“Preliminary findings indicate that contamination from the waste buried cell at the site has been released to the underlying groundwater.”
It noted that the U.S. military detected perchloroethylene (PCE), a toxic chemical that can affect the central nervous system, pesticides and dioxins.
Dioxins are known to cause mental illness, cancer and fetal deformities and are a byproduct of the decomposition of Agent Orange, which was sprayed in Korea in the late 1960s to remove vegetation in the Demilitarized Zone.
The report also points out that Ku Cha-yong, a former Korean employee, witnessed the burial of drums, cans and bottles containing chemicals being buried in the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters (BEQ) Hill of the base between 1974 to 1975.
“According to Ku, a bulldozer was used to initially excavate a trench about 15 meters long, 9 meters wide, and about 6 meters deep,” the report said.
“Ku recalled that five or six five-ton trucks transported materials for burial in the trench. ”
Last Thursday, the U.S. Forces in Korea made public two pollution surveys conducted in 1992 and 2004 at Camp Carroll, but did not mention the existence of the 2011 draft.