Officials: More testing at Camp Carroll after objects detected underground
July 11, 2011
SEOUL — A joint U.S.-South Korean investigation team will begin further ground testing at Camp Carroll this week after initial surveys detected underground objects in an area where several veterans claim they once buried Agent Orange, according to the U.S. military.
However, U.S. and South Korean officials cautioned that they do not know what the buried objects are, and the presence of underground “anomalies” did not mean they have found drums of Agent Orange or anything to support the veterans’ claims.
“It could be a lot of things,” including pockets of underground water or any metallic object, 8th Army spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Buczkowski said Monday. He said core samples would be collected at 40 locations near the helipad as early as Monday or Tuesday, but did not know when the testing would end.
He said officials are still discussing the depth from which the samples will be collected.
The two countries began investigating the site soon after three U.S. veterans told a Phoenix television station in May that they helped bury hundreds of drums of Agent Orange near the base’s helipad while they were stationed at Carroll in 1978.
The chemical was used widely by the U.S. military to destroy foliage during the Vietnam War, and was also used to clear areas of the Korean peninsula’s Demilitarized Zone in the late 1960s. Agent Orange has been linked to a number of illnesses and birth defects.
Initial geophysical testing included ground penetrating radar and electrical resistivity tests. Both countries have also separately collected water samples from the area, and plan this week to exchange the results of their samples, Buczkowski said.
Yoo Kyong Chang contributed to this story.