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Site Progress

Overview

Beginning with excavation of contaminated soil in the BFF area in 1999, the Air Force has and continues to conduct interim measures to remove and address fuel-related contamination remaining in the environment. A summary of interim measures to mitigate any immediate threat to human health and the environment is provided below.

The following bullets summarize key information about the project:

  • Once leaked jet fuel enters the ground, it is called LNAPL. LNAPL includes liquid compounds that are not water, do not dissolve in water, and are less dense than water. As the LNAPL was released from the underground pipelines over time, it traveled downward through different parts of the subsurface.
  • Investigation activities determined that the fuel contamination migrated north of Kirtland AFB. In order to comply with New Mexico Environment Department-Hazardous Waste Bureau requirements, groundwater and soil vapor monitoring wells were installed both on and off base to better understand the extent of contamination and how far contamination has migrated from the original site.

Interim Measure Summary

  • 1999: Upon discovery of the fuel release 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. 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.
  • Contaminated soil in the source area (4,822 tons) above screening levels was excavated in phases beginning in 1999, with the last excavation in 2015.
  • 2000 to date: 138 groundwater monitoring wells and 284 soil vapor monitoring points have been installed both on and off Base by the Air Force to ensure the extent of the plume is identified.
  • 2003: The Air Force installed the first soil vapor extraction (SVE) system on-base between 2003 and 2015; SVE removed 550,000 gallons of fuel and significantly reduced contamination in the vadose zone.
  • 2007: Bioslurping was conducted for four years and removed 225,000 equivalent-gallons of fuel from the subsurface.
  • 2015 to date: The interim measure pump and treat system, also referred to as the groundwater treatment system (GWTS), installed in 2015 is designed to capture and treat the EDB in groundwater that has migrated off-base. This system has three operational wells and is currently being expanded.
  • Ongoing: A pilot in-situ EDB biodegradation test is being conducted in the source area to determine the effectiveness of enhancing bacteria capable of breaking down fuel-related compounds in an anaerobic, or low-oxygen, environment.
  • In addition to the extensive groundwater and soil vapor monitoring network, monitoring wells have been installed between drinking water supply wells and the network to serve as a second line of defense to detect if fuel-related contaminants have moved towards water supply wells.