Jet fuel from the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque has been leaking from 40 years. The leak was first discovered in 1999, and so far 400,000 gallons of fuel have been removed from the area, and efforts to aggressively clean up the problem will continue.
State geologist William Moats initially calculated the spill at about 8 million gallons, but after reviewing new data from Air Force monitoring wells he has upped his estimate to 24 million gallons, but has also said that the true extent of the spill can be verified until it has been remediated.
The leak is thought to be coming from underground pipes at the Kirtland fuel loading system, and in 2007 the Air Force admitted that the leak had spread through the ground, off the base and had reached the local water table beneath the neighbourhoods of Albuquerque.
Jim Davis, the head of the New Mexico Environment Department’s resource protection division has promised that no matter how big the spill turns out to be, it poses no threat to local residents. He predicts that the fuel will not reach the city’s water wells and contaminate the water supplies for another five years, before which all will have been cleaned up.
“The bottom line is this ... we take it very seriously. We are pushing the Air Force and we are going to stay on top of it until it is fixed.”
By. Charles Kennedy of Oilprice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com