Steve House, center, looks at a map of the area surrounding Camp Carroll's helipad during a visit to the Daegu-area base on July 27, 2011. House claims he buried Agent Orange in a ditch at the base while stationed there in 1978, and told officials they were not searching the location where he remembered the ditch being located.
Ashley Rowland/Stars and Stripes
WAEGWAN, South Korea – A joint U.S.-South Korean investigation team announced Friday that it has found no evidence of Agent Orange in water or soil around Camp Carroll, though testing of the area will continue.
Testing of the area — a grassy expanse surrounding Camp Carroll’s helipad — began earlier this summer after three U.S. Army veterans told a Phoenix television station that they buried the toxic defoliant there in a ditch a city block long.
However, the investigation team has yet to test a hillside adjacent to the helipad area that was pinpointed last week by one of the former soldiers as the site he claims hundreds of Agent Orange barrels were buried in 1978.
Military records indicate that unspecified chemicals were buried in a large trench in the area in 1978, but the chemicals were removed in the following two years along with about 60 tons of dirt. The military has yet to find records showing where the barrels were taken after they were removed. “As far as where those records are, we really can’t answer that question,” Col. Joseph Birchmeier, a U.S. Forces Korea engineer and head of the U.S. side of the investigation team, told about 100 reporters and residents during a press conference at the Chilgok County Office on Friday. “That’s why the search continues.”
The test results released Friday are part of an ongoing battery of tests being conducted around the helipad. The investigation team said that groundwater collected from 22 locations on Camp Carroll, soil samples collected from 22 off-post locations, and five sediment samples from local rivers did not contain major components or by-products of Agent Orange.
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