KUNM

Kirtland Air Force Base

Hannah Colton / KUNM

A pump-and-treat system is the main way that Kirtland Air Force Base has been cleaning up a jet fuel spill they discovered back in the ‘90s. For years, the treated water has gone either straight back into the aquifer or to the base’s golf course. Now, Kirtland is seeking permission for a third option—to dump water into the nearby Tijeras Arroyo.

Hannah Colton / KUNM

Kirtland Air Force Base will host an open house Thursday evening about their efforts to clean up groundwater contamination from a decades-old jet fuel spill. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

A coalition of New Mexico lawmakers, advocates and residents say the U.S. Air Force has been too slow to respond to a decades-old jet fuel spill at Kirtland Air Force Base. It’s been 20 years since the spill was discovered and the coalition announced Friday that they plan to file a lawsuit to try to get the military to intensify cleanup efforts. 

Hannah Colton / KUNM

To hear Kirtland Air Force Base officials tell it, the cleanup of a decades-old jet fuel spill in Southeast Albuquerque is going great. Their pump-and-treat system is shrinking a major swath of the pollution in the city’s aquifer. But there’s a long history of distrust between the military and the community on this project, and there’s still a lot more to clean up.

Hannah Colton / KUNM Public Radio

The U.S. Air Force will host a public meeting Thursday night about the cleanup of a decades-old jet fuel spill north of Kirtland Air Force Base. Military officials say the cleanup is proceeding as planned, despite a reported reduction in the project budget this year. 

Wikimedia Commons

Kirtland Air Force Base and the New Mexico Environment Department will meet with the public for an upadate on efforts to clean up the decades old fuel spill on Thursday in Albuquerque. 

Kirtland Shows Off Spill Cleanup System

Oct 29, 2015
Rita Daniels

Kirtland Air Force Base has faced a lot of criticism for how it has handled a decades old fuel spill that threatens Albuquerque’s drinking water supply. The base is now showing off what officials there are calling a monumental pump and treat system that’s cleaning the groundwater.

Ed Williams

We recently published the first two stories in an ongoing series on pollution and the Rio Grande in which we plan to explore a range of topics and issues.

Ed Williams-KUNM

 

Editor's Note: After we published this story, a spokesperson for Kirtland Air Force Base wrote with a series of objections to the story. Kirtland did not allege any factual inaccuracy in our story but we did make a change to reflect that Kirtland's lead discharges into the Rio Grande watershed are not in violation of environmental laws. You can read all of their objections and our responses here

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Rita Daniels

Kirtland Air Force Base missed another deadline for cleaning up some of a decades-old jet fuel spill. The New Mexico Environment Department has granted them 45 days to comply.

NMED Open To Suggestions For Kirtland Fuel Cleanup

Oct 22, 2014
Rita Daniels

 

The New Mexico Environment Department took about 50 members of the public on an informational tour of the Kirtland Air Force jet fuel spill this week.  The tour group spent the day learning about the parts of  Albuquerque’s aquifer that have been contaminated.

Geologists said one of the issues that makes cleanup of the site so complicated is that the water table has risen in recent years, trapping some of the liquid jet fuel beneath the top of the aquifer.

Air Force Will Miss Cleanup Deadline

Sep 23, 2014
NMED, not to scale

 

On Monday a legislative committee heard updates from stakeholders about progress on the fuel spill cleanup at Kirtland Air Force Base.  

At the end of the day lawmakers said it's important to focus on the present moment and look at what's being accomplished, instead of lamenting mistakes from the past.

In the 90's the Air Force acknowledged that millions of gallons of carcinogenic aviation fuel had been leaking underground for decades, oozing into Albuquerque's aquifer.

Kirtland Says More Info Needed Before Cleanup

Sep 3, 2014
Rita Daniels

    

Kirtland Air Force Base will not submit a plan to pump and treat contaminated groundwater at the end of this month as expected.

Officials from Kirtland and the state say they still need more information before moving forward on the cleanup of an underground fuel spill that has contaminated Albuquerque’s aquifer.

New Kirtland Fuel Clean Up Team Warms Some Skeptics

Jul 23, 2014
Rita Daniels

Kirtland Air Force Base held their quarterly Citizen Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday to talk about cleaning up the fuel spill threatening Albuquerque's drinking water supply. People learned they may see more action in the coming months than they have over the past 15 years.

The evening kicked off with a brief power point presentation as one of Kirtland’s project managers went over various clean up efforts.  Then the public was allowed to ask questions.

Deadline Extended For Kirtland Cleanup Plan

Jul 1, 2014
Rita Daniels

 

Kirtland Air Force Base’s deadline to submit a plan to remove toxic chemicals from Albuquerque's groundwater has been extended by 30 days. The base is required to show the state that clean up of a decades old fuel leak is underway by the end of the year.

The Air Force was under a June 30th deadline to submit a plan to the state environment department that describes how they would remove a plume of ethylene dibromide - or EDB – from groundwater that feeds city drinking water wells.

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