No trace of Agent Orange found at Camp Carroll

Home > National > Social Affairs

print dictionary print

No trace of Agent Orange found at Camp Carroll

테스트

U.S. Colonel Joseph F. Birchmeier, a co-head of the U.S.-South Korea joint investigation team, at a news conference yesterday. [YONHAP]

A joint South Korea-U.S. investigation into allegations that Agent Orange was buried in large quantities at a U.S. army base in the 1970s released its water and soil test results yesterday and said it found no traces of the highly hazardous defoliant.

But it did find contaminants, and said the final results on whether the soil at the military base is contaminated will be released at the end of this month when soil analysis is complete.

The Ministry of Environment and the joint investigation team of the two countries held a press briefing yesterday in an auditorium of Chilgok County Office and announced the results of the environmental impact assessment on soil and water at Camp Carroll in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang.

According to the investigators, pesticides and dioxins, the main components of Agent Orange, were not detected in groundwater U.S. soldiers use for drinking water. The investigation team said a miniscule amount of dioxin, 0.001 picograms per liter, was detected but it wasn’t a dioxin used in Agent Orange.

However, investigators found a high level of cancer-causing solvents, trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), which are not related to Agent Orange.

Among six monitored wells, five exceeded the TCE standard of 0.03 parts per million, while two exceeded the PCE standard of 0.01 parts per million. The solvents are used to clean jet engines.

The U.S. Forces in Korea said its soldiers have been drinking the water after purifying it using the air striping method.

The joint investigation team also said that they couldn’t detect any signs of toxic defoliants in 140 soil samples collected from 22 different spots outside the base. Again, only miniscule amount of dioxins were detected, unrelated to Agent Orange.

The team said that during a geophysical exploration of 10 zones in the camp, they found unusual indications of drilling, but said that didn’t prove the burying of hundreds of drums.

It said it will conduct a detailed soil-drilling survey on more areas identified by former U.S. soldier Steve House, 54, who first claimed in May that he and several other soldiers buried up to 250 drums of Agent Orange under a heliport at Camp Carroll in 1978.

Two other veterans echoed House’s claim later.

Agent Orange was widely used to clear leaves from trees and plant life during wars. The cancer-causing chemical was allegedly sprayed in the 1960s around the demilitarized zone to thwart North Korean infiltrations.

A similar investigation took place at a former U.S. military base west of Seoul following another alleged toxic dumping.

The Ministry of National Defense said earlier this week that the survey found no signs of toxic defoliants at Camp Mercer in Bucheon.


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

캠프 캐럴 지하수서 고엽제 성분 안 나와

발암물질 TCE 기준치 이상 검출

고엽제 매립 의혹이 제기된 경북 칠곡군의 미군기지 캠프 캐럴에서 채취한 지하수에서 고엽제 성분이 검출되지 않았다. 이에 따라 고엽제 오염 여부는 기지 내부 토양의 분석 결과가 나오는 이달 말에야 최종적으로 가려질 전망이다.

한·미공동조사단은 5일 칠곡군청에서 열린 조사 결과 중간발표회에서 고엽제의 주 성분인 농약과 고엽제와 관련 있는 다이옥신 성분(2, 3, 7, 8-TCDD)은 검출되지 않았다고 밝혔다. 미군이 식수와 생활용수로 쓰는 지하수 관정 6곳과 수질관측을 위해 설치한 관측정 16곳에 대한 조사 결과다.

 그러나 고엽제와 관련은 없지만 발암물질인 TCE(트리클로로에틸렌)·PCE(테트라클로로에틸렌)는 먹는 물 기준치 이상으로 검출됐다. 관정 6곳 중 TCE 기준(0.03ppm)을 초과한 곳이 5곳, PCE 기준(0.01ppm)을 넘어선 곳은 2곳이었다. 이 물질들은 군에서 제트엔진 세척제로 사용된다. 지난 6월 기지 외부 민간 아파트 지하수에 대한 조사에서도 PCE가 기준치 이상 검출됐다.

미군 측은 “지하수를 정수해 마시고 있다”며 “2004년 삼성물산 조사에서 TCE 오염의 심각성이 확인된 후 기지 외부 주민들에게 알린 기록은 없다”고 설명했다. 또 기지 외곽 22개 지점에서 깊이별로 채취한 토양과 하천 퇴적토 시료 140개에서도 고엽제 성분은 검출되지 않았다. 이들 시료에서 고엽제와 무관한 다이옥신은 검출됐으나 전국 토양 평균치 이하 수준으로 나타났다.

 이와 함께 기지 내부 D구역 등에서 레이더 투과 조사 등을 실시한 결과 이상징후가 포착됐지만 고엽제 드럼통 매립의 직접 증거는 될 수 없다고 조사단은 설명했다. 조사단은 고엽제 매립 의혹을 제기한 전 미군 병사 스티브 하우스가 지난달 27일 현장을 방문해 직접 지목한 지역과 이상징후가 포착된 지역에 대해 실제 시추를 할 계획이다.

More in Social Affairs

Court upholds prison terms for Jung Joon-young, Choi Jong-hoon for rape

Some Chuseok social distancing restrictions could be 'tougher' than Level 2: official

Covid-19 dries up charity funds, donations ahead of Chuseok

Conservative groups shift Foundation Day plans to drive-thru rally

Divers, scientists see climate change altering Jeju's aquatic ecosystem

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now