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Oil drums found buried at Chatan construction site

Date Posted: 2002-02-07

A large quantity of waste oil was found buried on private property on Jan. 29 in Chatanís Mihama district during foundation work for a new building. Approximately 20 drums containing an oil-like substance were buried at the site, which had been used as a firing range by the U.S. military until 1981. The surrounding soil appears to have been severely polluted by the oil.

According to an inspection conducted by the city of Chatan on Jan. 31, the source of the oil may be the U.S. military, judging from the markings on the drums. In response to a request from the town, the prefecture agreed to the oilís removal only if safety can be guaranteed during the removal work and at the temporary storage site. Chatan Town is reluctantly planning to remove the oil on Feb. 5, asserting that it is the responsibility of the Naha Defense Facilities Administration Bureau (DFAB) since the oil almost surely originated with the U.S. military. However, the town will assume the burden of the removalís expenses as long as the source of the pollutant remains unidentified.

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