Area D in Camp Carroll in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province was used as a landfill for more than 100 kinds of hazardous and toxic materials between 1977 and 1982, it emerged Friday.
A joint investigation by Korea and the U.S. is under way, triggered by revelations from veterans that they buried large quantities of the lethal defoliant Agent Orange at the camp in 1978.
Hazardous waste was buried at Area D for six years, starting in 1977, according to a report compiled by Samsung C&T Corporation, which conducted a probe at Areas D and 41 in the camp at the request of the U.S. Far East Command in 2003.
In 1982-1983, large amounts of chemicals and contaminated soil were dug up again and put into 55-gallon (approximately 208-liter) drums, but where they were disposed of is not known. Contaminated residues could still remain at the site, the report says.
It said the dump in Area D was 250 feet wide and 500 feet long (approximately 75 m and 150 m) and 20 to 30 feet (6 to 9 m) deep. It could therefore accommodate 70,000-100,000 cubic m or 110,000 to 170,000 tons of soil. That is a massive 1,900 to 4,300 times as much as the 40 to 60 tons of soil the U.S. Forces Korea has admitted it dug up and disposed of in 1979-1980. Samsung submitted the report to the U.S. Far East Command in July 2004.
Eighth U.S. Army Commander Lt. Gen. John Johnson told Environment Minister Yoo Young-sook, who visited the camp last Wednesday, that drums of chemicals were removed from Korea in 1979-1980.
But according to the Samsung report, contaminated materials were buried and dug up repeatedly at Area D even after 1980. Experts say it is therefore likely that various kinds of waste and containers remain buried in the area.