Public Health New Mexico
8:49 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Advocacy Group Hosts Teach-In On Kirtland Fuel Spill

Water Utility Authority board member Rey Garduño says if the Ridgecrest wells get contaminated, some of the city's purest water won't be usable.
Water Utility Authority board member Rey Garduño says if the Ridgecrest wells get contaminated, some of the city's purest water won't be usable.
Credit Rita Daniels

  About 75 people gathered last night in Albuquerque's southeast heights for a teach-in about the Kirtland Air Force Base jet fuel leak. 

A panel of elected officials, scientists and environmental activists went over what is and what is not being done to clean up the plume of millions of gallons of contamination creeping towards the city's drinking water supply wells at a rate that has many people alarmed. 

Reyna Luz Juarez lives right on top if the plume and is the president of the South San Pedro Neighborhood Association. "Many of us come from generations of land based indigenous people," she said to the gathering, "and we are taught a very deep and profound responsibility to take care of our earth. When we have a huge institution that has contaminated the heck out of our water, it's just wrong."

Juarez said her community has been asking for a health and environmental impact assessment for some time. 

Members of Citizen Action New Mexico are asking that clean up of the mile-long plume be place on the National Priorities List and that an independent task force be assigned to tackle the problem. 

In order to avoid fines, Kirtland is launching a pilot project later this summer that aims to remove contaminants from part of the aquifer.