The New Mexico Environment Department and its partners released their 2017 strategic plan for the Kirtland Air Force Base fuel leak in January. Over the course of decades, an estimated 24 million gallons of jet fuel leaked from storage tanks at the base. The leak was first detected in 1999. The strategic plan is only a “reference and planning document” and is not enforceable under any regulatory agencies. But it does include information that the public could find helpful, including conceptual diagrams of the leak, a map showing the locations of monitoring wells and drinking water wells and a timeline for cleanup.
A massive new weapon has now deployed in the battle to clean up the Kirtland Air Force Base fuel leak: forty thousand pounds of granular activated carbon that is stripping aviation fuel constituents out of the contaminated water. At a cost of $14.2 million, the U.S. Air Force has built a system of three extraction wells, pipes and a 4,000-square-foot, full-scale treatment plant, complete with two metal vessels that each have 20,000 pounds of carbon, that has now cleaned 52 million gallons of water contaminated with ethylene dibromide. The full-scale treatment system became operational on December 31, 2015, and is now pumping and cleaning 400 gallons of water a minute, or 576,000 gallons a day. It has the capacity to treat 800 gallons a minute. The Air Force and the New Mexico Environment Department gave area residents a glimpse of the treatment system during a field trip to Kirtland on April 23.
Residents of New Mexico announced their intention to sue the U.S. Air Force over the massive jet fuel spill at Kirtland Air Force Base. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center announced on Monday that the organization filed a notice of intent to sue the Air Force. Among those in the lawsuit are the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and state senators Cisco McSorley and Mimi Stewart. Four other residents of New Mexico are clients. The notice of intent is required to give those who will be sued 90 days notice of the suit.
The U.S. Department of Justice has agreed to take a look into the Albuquerque Police Department’s participation with the Department of Energy at at a federal facility. This comes months after Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., voiced concern about the police department’s use of the DOE’s National Training Center, which is located at Kirtland Air Force Base. There, Albuquerque police took part in training and in some cases instructed courses using controversial methods. Grisham released a statement today about the matter, saying that she raised concerns in February to DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz about whether Albuquerque police “should have access to the facilities and classes used to train special DOE police forces to protect the nations nuclear stockpile.” She mentioned that for a year, Albuquerque police “has been under a consent decree with the DOJ” following the federal agency’s report that the department had in several cases violated law by using excessive force.