Decades old fuel spill threatens New Mexico water table
25th May 2012
A decades-old jet fuel spill threatening Albuquerque's water supply could be as large as 24 million gallons, or twice the size of the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez, New Mexico environment officials acknowledged Tuesday.
Officials previously estimated the spill from Kirtland Air Force Base to be about 8 million gallons. But state geologist William Moats, who made the original calculations, recently estimated the spill could be up to three times larger. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of crude oil when it ran aground in Prince William Sound in Alaska in 1989. The fuel came from what officials now believe was a 40-year leak from underground pipes at a Kirtland aircraft fuel loading facility.
Jim Davis, head of trhe New Mexico Environment Department resource protection division admits the latest calculation is a `first order` estimate based on new data from US Air Force monitoring wells. He emphasised that calculations have yet to be reviewed, and no-one will really know the extent of the spill until it is remediated. [source: Boston Globe]