The cancellation of the Kirtland AFB quarterly meeting for the jet fuel spill 10 days before the meeting was scheduled is unacceptable.  The reasons given are a cover up for serious technical problems about which Kirtland is required to inform the public.  Kirtland’s reasons listed in their notice for the three month postponement of the meeting states:

The July meeting is being cancelled to provide more time to review two major milestones on the project: the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act [RCRA] Facility Investigation Report [RFI] characterizing the leak and the Risk Assessment Report delineating risk in support of future decision-making. Both of these documents present technical evaluation information about the Bulk Fuels Facility investigation activities conducted to determine nature and extent of fuel contamination; interim cleanup measures implemented as part of this project; and an evaluation of exposure risk associated with the fuel release.

The reasons for the meeting cancellation are bogus and do not meet federal requirements to fully and honestly inform the public. The “milestones” are not accomplished. Serious data gaps, technical deficiencies are in the investigation report so that: the full risk to public water supplies cannot be known; whether interim measures for remediation have any effect to halt the spreading plume, and; what, if any, long term remedies for cleanup of the aquifer can be effective, if implemented.

The taxpayer has already spent some $200,000,000 on this spill. The public is entitled to know what is really going on and not be kept in the dark.  Long term remediation cannot proceed without an accurate investigation report that is long overdue. The management structure for overview, evaluation and remediation is in constant turnover. There is no organization chart. 

Before the Air Force and regulators proceed further, it is imperative that the Memorial adopted three years ago by the New Mexico Legislature be put into effect.  The Memorial asked for a major scientific peer review of the jet fuel spill.     

The plume of EDB contamination is not far from major municipal drinking water wells. The  plume’s rate of travel is not accurately identified and monitored close to the municipal wells.   Because of data gaps, the Facility Investigation Report cannot characterize the extent and danger from the jet fuel and aviation gas spill estimated at up to 25,000,000 gallons. The spill contaminated Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer with carcinogenic chemicals.

Citizen Action has repeatedly raised concerns about the defective groundwater monitoring network: air bubbles in many of the monitoring wells making unreliable sampling results, and; shallow groundwater monitoring well screens being submerged by rising groundwater.   

Due to the groundwater table rising up to 5 ft a year, 45 of the 60 shallow groundwater monitoring have not gathered data for three years about the concentration of EDB in the aquifer. Only 15 of the shallow groundwater monitoring wells may be operable.  In the original source area of the bulk fuels spill a chemical “smear zone” was created in the soil as the jet fuel and aviation gas traveled downward into the aquifer. As the water table rises, the smear zone is trapped beneath the aquifer and more chemicals can enter into the aquifer. 

The rising groundwater table submerged the shallow wells screens that are supposed to supply information about EDB concentration and how far EDB has spread toward municipal wells.    These same data gaps were among reasons the Air Force withdrew the Facility Investigation Report that was due over three years ago. 

The public and news media are denied transparency in knowing the real facts about the jet fuel spill by being excluded from any technical meetings or review minutes of such meetings that take place.

July 20, 2017    

Dave McCoy, Executive Director

Citizen Action NM