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.
Contamination from the fuel spill at Kirtland Air Force Base was discovered in 1999. The plume has spread underneath Albuquerque to within a mile of the Ridgecrest well number 5, one of the city's most productive drinking water wells.
On Monday members of Bernalillo County's water utility gathered around what they call the purest and most productive water well in the entire county. They demanded that the U.S. Air Force implement a more aggressive approach to dealing with the underground jet fuel leak that threatens Albuquerque's water supply.
In 1999 Air Force officials discovered millions of gallons of jet fuel had been leaking, probably for decades, at Kirtland Air Force Base. It's believed that toxins in the fuel are making their way towards the city's drinking water.