Pentagon & Congress

Plan unveiled for Kirtland fuel-spill cleanup wells

The Air Force has unveiled a proposal to start drilling wells next year to try to intercept groundwater contamination from a Kirtland Air Force Base fuel spill.

The Albuquerque Journal reports the plan released Wednesday is aimed at stopping contamination before it can reach Albuquerque municipal drinking water wells.

Under the plan, eight new cleanup wells will be operating by August 2016.

But a top Air Force official acknowledged that the first of the wells will not be installed until mid-2015, missing a December deadline to get that phase of the work completed.

The spill was discovered in 1999 when Kirtland officials found a leaking pipe. It contaminated groundwater beneath Kirtland and southeast Albuquerque.

Two years later, base workers found contamination in a groundwater monitoring well.

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