| On-base fuel leak causes farmers concern |
By Teri Weaver and Hwang Hae-rym, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Saturday, December 6, 2008
SEOUL — A fuel leak at a U.S. military base in Pyeongtaek has caused concern for some farmers outside the post, according to one local civic group.
But a U.S. Army spokesman said Monday’s on-base discovery of the fuel leak at U.S. Army Garrison-Humphreys had no connection to Tuesday’s off-base discovery of oil in standing water about a mile away.
The leak on base was discovered about 8:30 a.m. Monday, according to Robert McElroy, a base spokesman. The diesel heating fuel was seeping from an above-ground storage tank near the Splish Splash Water Park on base, he said.
McElroy said officials did not know how much fuel leaked or for how long, though officials "think it was just a few days," he said Thursday evening.
Workers placed special absorbent pads near the leak and stanched it, McElroy said. The leak was fixed by about noon Monday, he said.
On Tuesday, base officials received a call from the city of Pyeongtaek’s environmental office saying a farmer found a "petroleum sheen" in a concrete storm-drainage ditch near a drive-in gate to the base. The ditch runs from the base into the city along rice paddies.
Kang Sang-won, the director of the Pyeongtaek Peace Center, said Thursday he and others believe a large amount of oil has spilled into the ditch. "Most of residents here, farmers, are worried very much about this," he said, through an interpreter.
But a city official said the amount found didn’t appear to be great, and city officials did not believe the spill contaminated nearby farming water sources.
Pyeongtaek city officials cleaned up the sheen outside the base. Workers for the Humphreys Environmental Division put out two oil-absorbent booms close to the post’s perimeter as a precaution, McElroy said.
McElroy said Army officials had received no complaints on base about the leaking diesel.