Monday, April 23, 2012

Jet Fuel and Perchlorate Spoil Groundwater in Two Western Localities

By: Duane Craig

More news about the contamination being left behind by the country’s military-industrial complex comes from two locations: Albuquerque, N.M., and Barstow, Calif., according to reports here and here.

New Mexico’s environmental officials characterized Kirtland AFB’s efforts at determining the extent of groundwater contamination below Albuquerque’s southeast quadrant as inadequate, and the state’s environment department is calling for more monitoring wells to see just how much risk is posed to the city’s drinking water. Underground aircraft fuel lines had leaked for decades when the leaks were discovered in 1999, and an estimated 8 million gallons contributed to a plume of contamination that may now threaten city wells. The Air Force didn’t mention the problem until 2007, according to the report cited above in the Air Force Times.

A former pyrotechnic company in Barstow illegally dumped perchlorate that contributed to a 1.25-mile plume of contamination in the area’s groundwater, forcing the closure of one of the local water supplier’s wells. Recent drilling and testing shows perchlorate in concentrations up to 13,000 parts per billion. California says that 6 parts per billion is the maximum amount of the chemical allowed in drinking water. Cleanup activities are expected to begin soon.

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