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Site History

The information provided below is excerpted from the 2017 RFI Report which can be found on the Project Documents page of this website.

The Bulk Fuels Facility is located in the northwestern portion of Kirtland Air Force Base (AFB) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Facility and associated infrastructure operated from 1953 until 1999 and was used during this time for the storage of aviation gasoline (AvGas), jet propellant 4 (JP-4), jet propellant 8 (JP-8), and smaller amounts of diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline. Jet fuel was initially delivered to the BFF via railroad until deliveries were transitioned to tanker truck sometime between 1986 and 1991. Jet fuel was offloaded from railcars or tanker trucks to the Former Fuel Offloading Rack (FFOR), pumped through underground pipelines to the pump house, and then to large fuel storage tanks at the BFF. From 1953 to late 1975, the primary fuel stored and used at the BFF was AvGas. In 1975, the BFF transitioned from AvGas to the less volatile fuel JP-4, and from JP-4 to JP-8 starting in 1993. Ethylene dibromide (EDB) is an additive that was used only in AvGas; use of EDB as a fuel additive was discontinued in 1975.

The leaks were discovered in November, 1999 when a BFF worker noticed fuel staining the ground surface at the FFOR. To investigate the stained soil, workers at the BFF performed pressure testing of the two underground pipelines between the FFOR and pump house. Both pipelines failed pressure testing.

When the fuel release was discovered in November 1999, the FFOR was closed and a temporary fuel offloading area was constructed and used until the faulty FFOR infrastructure could be replaced. This included replacing the jet fuel offloading pad, transfer pipelines, and storage tanks. All underground pipelines related to the FFOR were either removed or grouted in place, and all pipelines and aboveground storage tanks were replaced with aboveground infrastructure having leak detection and leak containment measures. Replacement of the infrastructure was finished on March 18, 2011.

It is unknown how long the pipelines had been in a state of failure, but the types of site contaminants were used to develop an estimate. Since EDB has been found in soil, soil vapor, and groundwater, the releases must have begun prior to 1975. The duration of the releases is unknown. As a result, it is also unknown exactly how much fuel was released. Kirtland AFB learned through additional investigation activities conducted between 2004 and 2007 that the leaked fuel had reached the groundwater table.