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Kirtland AFB Project Activities

Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) continues to work with New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) to move forward through the RCRA process. This includes completing the investigative phase (submittal of the RCRA Facility Investigation [RFI] Report, and RFI Addendum) and performing interim measures to remove and prevent further migration of jet fuel-related contamination in groundwater and vadose zone, or subsurface soil.

The Air Force would like to thank the neighborhoods for their continued patience and support during well installation and sampling activities and appreciate the important role contributions of the organizations identified to the project.

Air Force priorities for the project are:

  1. Implement a robust site monitoring and wellhead protection program to protect drinking water supply wells.
  2. Use multiple strategies to cleanup soil and groundwater by collapsing the EDB plume and remediating fuel-related products remaining in the subsurface soil and groundwater.
  3. Meet permit requirements for public information and involvement.

While the Air Force develops and executes a long-term strategy to achieve these goals, it is also pursuing interim measures to immediately address contamination.

Project activities being conducted in support of the BFF remediation project include:
  • Operation of a groundwater treatment system (GWTS) that extracts contaminated groundwater water from the ethylene dibromide (EDB) plume. This system, operational since 2015, currently uses three extraction wells located inside the plume and treats the extracted groundwater using granular activated carbon (GAC). A fourth extraction well will be brought on line in 2018. This interim cleanup measure is designed to reduce the size of the plume and remove EDB. The treated groundwater contains no detectable EDB and meets drinking water standards. The treated groundwater is used to irrigate the on-base golf course, or is returned to the regional aquifer under a permit issued by NMED.
  • Implementation of an EDB biodegradation pilot test. This pilot test is designed to evaluate the most effective in-situ (meaning in place) treatment for EDB, and includes stimulating native bacteria with nutrients and adding lab-grown bacterial cultures proven to degrade EDB. This pilot test is ongoing in 2018, and is being performed on Kirtland AFB property. The results of this pilot test will help the project understand whether this process would be effective in the remediation of EDB if it is implemented on a larger scale
  • Quarterly groundwater monitoring of 138 monitoring wells and semi-annual monitoring of 284 soil vapor monitoring points. The Air Force has installed an extensive groundwater and soil vapor monitoring network both on-base and in the neighborhoods north of Kirtland AFB. This network allows the project to collect more information about the nature and extent of contamination in the underground environment, as well as about the underground environment itself. Information gained during investigation and interim measure activities is used to identify and recommend a remedial approach that best addresses contaminants based on environmental conditions.
  • The BFF RFI Report, which was submitted to NMED in January 2017 for review and comment, summarizes the results of the first 16 years of investigations and interim measures. An RFI Addendum will be submitted to summarize the results of investigation activities performed after Dec 2015. The text of the RFI Report can be found in the project documents page, Project Documents.
  • The Risk Assessment Report, which was submitted to NMED for review and comment in July 2017, analyzes the potential for adverse impacts to human health or the environment as a result of contamination. This risk assessment found no adverse health or ecological affects from the fuel leak contamination based upon current land use. The text of the Risk Assessment can be found in the project documents page, Project Documents.
  • Additional planned investigation activities and interim measures for 2018. One planned investigation effort is the collection of soil cores to further delineate LNAPL remaining in the source area. A bioventing pilot test and air-lift pilot test are planned interim measures that will help the project determine whether these technologies are effective at remediating contaminants if implemented on a larger scale.