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SEOUL — As the United States and South Korea prepare to triple the size of Camp Humphreys to accommodate much of the U.S. military force on the peninsula, officials from both countries are grappling with the best way to solve a problem with the expansion site: flooding.

“Most of the area is currently rice fields, right along a river,” U.S. Forces Korea officials said in a statement this week in response to questions about the issue. “Rice fields are designed to flood. The rice fields must be filled in, just as is done all over Korea when new towns are built.”

But just how to prepare that land for building — and who will pay for it — is not settled, U.S. and South Korean officials said this week.

Currently, the South Koreans are building a levee along the river, which will help, U.S. officials acknowledge.

But the Americans also want some landfill in the area, said a South Korean Ministry of National Defense spokesman. That request could cost up to half a billion dollars, according to ministry spokesman Maj. Park Seung-man.

The An Sung stream runs next to Camp Humphreys and likely will cause flooding, according to Park. As such, USFK has made a formal request to the ministry to raise the ground level with landfill, he said.

In November, USFK asked the ministry to raise the land under building construction sites by 3.3 meters, or 10.8 feet, according to Park. USFK also asked that land to be used for field training be raised by 2.6 meters, or 8.2 feet.

That could cost from $500 million to $600 million, a price tag too large for South Korea to bear, according to the ministry. It also would be difficult for South Korea, a mountainous country the size of Indiana, to get enough dirt to raise the area, Park said.

USFK would not answer specific questions this week about the request or about the estimated cost of landfill.

“How much fill is required is a matter of design that depends on many factors,” according to a written statement from USFK. “That design has not been completed. Until it is, we cannot answer these sorts of questions.”


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