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.
The New Mexico Environment Department’s Tom Blaine says granting the Air Force more time to come up with a working plan does not change the fact that the remediation pilot project must be up and running by the end of the year.
“We want to make sure that they have a good plan and something that they can execute and be successful with,” said Blaine. “So if they need another 30 days to develop that plan, we don't have a problem with that.”
Almost a year ago the New Mexico Environment Department gave the Air Force a set of tasks and deadlines to meet in order to ensure that they were making progress towards clean up of the spill that was originally discovered in 1999.
The state agency says although they are satisfied with some of the steps the air force has taken, overall they are disappointed in the amount of progress the base has made actually cleaning up the spill.