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PYONGTAEK, South Korea — South Korean authorities plan tests to gauge how U.S. military aircraft noise might be affecting the health of South Koreans near two bases in the Pyongtaek region, officials said.

South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense will spend about $300,000 on the tests outside Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys. It will use the results to gauge where to eventually install noise abatement barriers.

The tests come as part of a U.S.-South Korea agreement under which the U.S. military will relocate its forces from Seoul and points north to Camp Humphreys, said Han Sang-ho, a Pyongtaek City official involved in the relocation effort.

The U.S. military plans to turn Camp Humphreys into its main base on the peninsula by 2008.

Testing will run from late this month to February, Han said.

Officials will test effects of aircraft noise and vibration at 60 locations near Osan Air Base and 40 near Camp Humphreys, Han said.

The U.S. military reportedly will aid the study by providing information about the path and frequency of its flights to and from the bases, Han said.

Also planned are medical check-ups on 2,000 people living near the bases.

Officials will check residents’ hearing, cardiovascular condition, and stress levels — 20 items in all — and monitor each over a two-month period starting later this month, Han said.

Officials at U.S. Forces Korea headquarters in Seoul and at Osan Air Base and Camp Humphreys had no immediate information Friday on the noise study or the U.S. military’s reported role in it.

In a related matter, Camp Humphreys officials have begun working on ways to ease aircraft noise, Clarence F. Slawson, deputy to the Camp Humphreys commander, said Friday.

“We’ve received notices from the local government … requesting that we look at instituting some type of noise abatement to accommodate the local residents from some of the noise that comes from the airfield,” he said.

Col. Michael J. Taliento Jr., Area III Support Activity commander, will meet with local officials “here in the near future to discuss the issue,” Slawson said.


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