NM Environment Department Says Base Efforts on Fuel Spill "Inadequate"

Apr 16, 2012

Albuquerque officials say they don't know how close the jet fuel oil spill at Kirtland AFB is to water wells in the city.

From the Albuquerque Journal:


The criticism, leveled in a letter Friday, comes after the latest Air Force data show contamination from a decades-old leak migrating northeast beneath southeast Albuquerque with no clear picture of how close the fuel is to the wells that provide drinking water to area neighborhoods.

“We don’t know how far it goes,” said Rick Shean, a water quality hydrologist with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. That makes it impossible to say how soon the contamination might reach the nearest wells, forcing a key part of the area’s water supply to be shut down, Shean said.

The Air Force has known at least since December about the uncertainty regarding how far the fuel has spread, but has not taken the necessary steps to determine the extent of the part of the spill “that represents the most serious threat to Albuquerque’s drinking water supply,” Environment Department Hazardous Waste Bureau acting chief John Kieling wrote in Friday’s letter.

An Air Force spokeswoman declined comment on the letter late Friday afternoon.