The Seoul Metropolitan Government will launch its own inspection into environmental contamination near U.S. military bases in the city, officials said Thursday.
In a meeting of senior officials, the city decided to carry out a special investigation into the underground water in the areas adjacent to U.S. camps from June 6 to the end of the month.
A total of 12 U.S. military camps are based in Seoul. Of them, 10 are under the jurisdiction of the city, while two others are under the Defense Ministry.
The city, together with Research Institute of Public Health and Environment, will take samples from underground water in the 10 areas, including six in Yongsan-gu, to verify whether there are any toxic chemicals such as pesticides and dioxins.
The city has examined water quality more than twice a year and has not found any abnormalities in the past five years, officials said.
The investigation comes amid suspicions that U.S. Forces Korea illegally buried a large amount of Agent Orange at one of its army bases in southeastern Korea nearly three decades ago.
A joint inspection by Korean and U.S. officials is underway to detect the allegedly buried toxic defoliants at Camp Carroll in Waegwan, North Gyeongsang Province.
By Lee Ji-yoon (email@example.com