Kirtland Air Force Base

Public Health New Mexico
11:15 am
Wed March 4, 2015

Kirtland AFB Threatens To Limit Media Access Over Our “Cheap-Shot” Coverage. Here Is Our Response.

Credit 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.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:20 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Small Tribe, Big River: Isleta Eyes Pollution In The Rio Grande

Tribal Councilman James Abeita on his farm near the Rio Grande
Credit 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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Local News
6:19 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Kirtland Misses Another Deadline For Jet Fuel Cleanup

KAFB is in violation for not meeting a deadline to begin extracting jet fuel components from Albuquerque's aquifer.
Credit 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.

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Local News
5:05 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

NMED Open To Suggestions For Kirtland Fuel Cleanup

The public was invited out on a field trip to learn about the jet fuel spill at Kirtland Air Force Base.
Credit 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.

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Local News
5:21 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Air Force Will Miss Cleanup Deadline

Cleanup of the fuel spill at Kirtland Air Force Base is beginning to pick up steam.
Credit 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.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:26 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Kirtland Says More Info Needed Before Cleanup

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.
Credit 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.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:57 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

New Kirtland Fuel Clean Up Team Warms Some Skeptics

Tensions were initially high at Tuesday's Kirtland Air Force Citizen Advisory Board meeting, but that dissipated as discussion about cleaning up toxins from the jet fuel spill deepened.
Credit 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.

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Local News
6:01 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Deadline Extended For Kirtland Cleanup Plan

Albuquerque's drinking water wells are being threatened by millions of gallons of jet fuel from Kirtland Airforce base that leaked for decades.
Credit 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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Local News
5:41 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Albuquerque Water Utility Board Demands Clean Up Of Fuel Leak

The Ridgecrest Well Number 5 is the most productive well in Bernalillo County. It is in the path of the expanding plume of contamination from the Kirtland fuel spill.
Credit Rita Daniels

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.


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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.
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. 

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Local News
8:37 am
Sun July 29, 2012

Drilling delayed at Kirtland

In this 2008 photo, the progress of fuel recovery at a pump sight is monitored.
U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Berenger

The Albuquerque Journal reports that the drilling of monitoring wells at Kirtland Air Force Base has been delayed until later this year. The monitoring wells are being drilled in order to determine the extent of contamination from a leak of about 24 million gallons of jet fuel.

One of the two contractors drilling the wells has gone out of business.

According to the story, available online:

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