Yongsan US base shows high water pollution level above threshold: govt.
The US military base in central Seoul has groundwater contaminated with harmful petroleum chemicals up to hundreds of times above the permissible limit, government reports showed Wednesday.
The Ministries of Environment and Foreign Affairs revealed the environmental reports on the US Yongsan base conducted twice earlier in the year, a move that followed an appellate court ruling made early this month in favor of civic groups that sought the public disclosure of the reports.
At least a dozen inside the base were highly contaminated with benzene, a cancerous substance, one of which recorded a level 672 times the limit in the August survey.
The wells also showed high levels of toluene and ethylbenzene pollution, according to the report.
South Korea and US forces have conducted three joint environmental surveys near the Yonsan base.
But they had refused to reveal the findings citing the Status of Forces Agreement by which they say they are bound to keep any documents of such kind confidential.
Civic groups filed a series of suits demanding the reports be released, scoring a win from the top court for the first survey and the latest victory from the appeals court for the other two.
The government revealed the first one in April.
Concerns have grown over the possible chemical contamination of soil and water worsening in and near the US military base.