Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
The U.S. Air Force has finally learned enough information to begin cleaning up a jet fuel leak from Albuquerque’s drinking water supply. The Kirtland Air Force Base plans to write and submit a report to the New Mexico Environmental Department before the agency can approve and make recommendations for cleanup.
This comes as a relief to citizen groups, state lawmakers, and New Mexico residents who live near the site and previously filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Department of Defense, alleging a failure to adequately clean up pollution from Kirtland Air Force Base.
Why This Matters: This jet fuel plume has been oozing into the ground for decades after a supply line broke, and was first detected in 1999. The jet fuel contained an additive known as ethylene dibromide, or EBD, extended several miles north of the base, underneath residential areas.
The Air Force has already made progress on cleaning up the contaminated soil — 775,000 gallons of fuel has been removed from the water over the years, along with 5,000 tons of contaminated soil. The Air Force also installed a pump-and-treat system in 2015 that kept drinking water from becoming contaminated.
But some have felt that these efforts haven’t been enough. A group of lawmakers, residents, and nonprofit organizations asked a federal judge last year to enforce deadlines for the cleanup. But the judge argued that the court didn’t have jurisdiction over the Air Force’s decisions.
This new plan suggests that the spill will finally be taken care of after many years. That said, the progress will be gradual. The state has up to nine months to review the report submitted by the Air Force, and upon its approval, the military will draft recommendations for final cleanup plans, with edits from the state. In the meantime, the Air Force will keep an eye on over 170 groundwater wells and 270 soil vapor points.
Maddy Hayden, a spokeswoman for New Mexico’s state Environment Department, told the Associated Press, “While significant progress has been made, there is still work to be done.”
By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he would extend the drought emergency statewide and issued an executive order to have residents conserve water. As part of this effort, eight new counties were added to the state of emergency, and authorized the State Water Resources Control Board was authorized to […]
By Elizabeth Love, ODP Contributing Writer Authorities in the Canadian Arctic territory Nunavut, announced a state of emergency this week due to a possible contamination event affecting the City of Iqaluit’s water supply. Tests were performed after residents reported the smell of gasoline coming from their tap water, but they came back clean. However, […]
By Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer For 40 million people living in the Western US, the Colorado River basin is their source of water supply and last month, the federal government declared a water shortage on the river for the first time. Within the basin, Thirty Native tribes have recognized rights to more than one-fifth […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.