Monday, January 17, 2011

New Mexico Less Enchanted with Diesel Contamination of Aquifer

by Duane Craig

Diesel fuel contamination in
Valencia County, New mexico
The Land of Enchantment may be a little less enchanting in the area of Valencia County, New Mexico, with the discovery of diesel fuel contamination in the aquifer. The estimate is that one million gallons of groundwater are contaminated with diesel fuel at a Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad locomotive fueling station.

BNSF says it is on board to use a new method to cleanup 216,000 gallons and then re-inject it into the aquifer. The New Mexico Ground Water Quality Bureau notes the diesel fuel sits on top of water that is almost exclusively below the rail yard and that it is not from a single event but rather from multiple events. One plume of contamination is about 1,700 feet long and 700 feet wide. Leaking tanks and tanks being overfilled are the operational culprits that created the contamination.

The fueling station is one of the largest in the country and it uses approximately 16 million gallons of fuel each month. Cleanup has been ongoing since the early 1990s and, to date, more than 600,000 gallons of the fuel have been captured. One bright note is that the recovery rate of the diesel fuel has increased 400 percent with the use of the new method.

You can get the local story here.

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