LA Times covers Kirtland spill

In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Times has a story about the jet fuel leak at Albuquerque’s Kirtland Air Force Base.

This excerpt provides a good overview of what’s happening beneath the surface:

At some point the buried pipe started leaking and the volatile fuel seeped deep into the sandy soil. Estimates range from 8 million to 24 million gallons. No one noticed until 1999, when fuel started pooling on the surface.

The facility was shut down and a handful of monitoring wells were dug to gauge the extent of the problem.

“What we found were holes in those large-bore underground pipes,” said Brent Wilson, the base’s chief civil engineer, while visiting the now-demolished facility in August. “It appeared at that time to be a limited leak localized to this area here.”

The Air Force installed soil vapor extraction units, which pull fuel vapors from the ground and burn them in an internal combustion engine.

In 2007, further testing revealed the fuel plume had reached groundwater and spread more than a mile to the north, across the base boundary. The biggest concern was a highly toxic chemical called ethylene dibromide. Known as EDB, it was used as an additive in leaded aviation gas until the Air Force switched to unleaded jet fuel the mid-1970s.

You can read the story in its entirety at http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-albuquerque-water-20120904,0,4824451.story

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