By Walter T. Ham IV, Eighth Army Public AffairsJune 20, 2011
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea, June 20, 2011 -- No traces of Agent Orange were found during water sampling tests on the wells in the community adjacent to Camp Carroll, the Joint Investigation Team announced June 16, 2011.
Pokyong National University Chief Professor Gon Ok and U.S. Forces Korea Engineer Col. Joseph F. Birchmeier announced the test results at a press conference in the Chilgok County Auditorium.
Ok, the lead South Korean investigator, held a town hall meeting there later in the day to discuss the water sampling tests with local officials and residents.
The joint investigation began in May following a report on KPHO TV in Phoenix, in which U.S. veterans claimed they buried Agent Orange on Camp Carroll in 1978.
Agent Orange was used as a tactical herbicide in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 1960s and 1970s to control vegetation and reduce areas of enemy concealment.
Agent Orange was later discovered to be contaminated with a highly toxic dioxin compound known to cause cancer and birth defects.
Dioxins are created as a byproduct of certain processes, such as the manufacturing of certain chemicals, the bleaching process at pulp and paper mills and chlorination by waste and drinking water treatment plants.
Exhaust from gas and diesel engines and emissions from forest fires, municipal solid waste and industrial incinerators may also produce dioxins.
The Joint Investigation Team is investigating the area identified by the U.S. veterans as the burial site. In that area, the team is using ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity and magnetometers.
Ground penetrating radar, electrical resistivity and magnetometers are used for environmental, archaeological and engineering exploration.
To date, no evidence of Agent Orange has been discovered on Camp Carroll or in the surrounding community.
During several visits to Camp Carroll, Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. John D. Johnson, who is leading the Camp Carroll Task Force, has met with national and local government officials and local residents to discuss the investigation.
"I promise that I will do everything necessary to determine the truth,” said Johnson. “My focus is to ensure there is no risk to the health of the people on Camp Carroll or off Camp Carroll. And if there is, I’ll fix it.”