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SEOUL — The environmental damage discovered at a former U.S. Army base isn’t worse than predicted, South Korean officials said Friday.

Kim Min-chul, director of the Environmental Remediation Division of the Korea Rural Community and Agricultural Corporation, said Friday that the contamination level at Camp Edwards is average for a former military base.

The base was open to the public for the first time on Thursday.

Kim praised U.S. Forces Korea for its cleanup efforts, adding that South Korean military oil supply bases generally are much more polluted than Edwards.

Kim, whose organization works for the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, confirmed that oil waste and other toxic chemicals were discovered in ground water and soil samples on 5.1 acres of the 62.8-acre camp.

The environmental study was funded by the Ministry of National Defense and conducted jointly by Kim’s organization and the Environmental Management Corporation.

Gyeonggi province is to purchase the land from the ministry, and Ewha University is to build a campus on the land after completion of the environmental cleanup in 2010.

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