KAFB Bulk Fuels Facility – Jet Fuel Plume Remediation
About the Project – Site & Regional Geology / Hydrology
Understanding the characteristics of the landscape affected by the jet fuel leak is a very critical component of developing efficient and effective strategies for removing the contamination and threat to Albuquerque’s drinking water supply.
As explained in the project’s Strategic Plan, this complex contamination site requires multiple strategies to address the multiple phases of fuel trapped in dry sediment and in the groundwater.
Technical experts working on this remediation project have been studying the sediment cores extracted from wells to be able to create a picture of what’s going on underground. Knowing the potential pathways the contamination took as it leaked down through the dry sediment and into the groundwater will help pinpoint areas to target for cleanup.
Some of the same sediment layers that exist underground in the area of the plume appear above ground in other places near KAFB. So, studying these visible, above ground layers can help understand the nature of the underground sediment at the fuel site. Studying above ground layers similar to those found underground can also be useful in characterizing the site.
2) Alluvial fan deposit showing channel outline.
3) Overbank deposit (fluvial) – example of sediment deposited by the ancestral Rio Grande as it flooded over it’s banks.
(click images for larger)
Photos taken in lower Tijeras Arroyo in south Albuquerque (2015)
Understanding the hydrology of the site is critical to the successful cleanup of the jet fuel leak.
Groundwater moves through the pore spaces between the grains and through fractures in the subsurface deposit.
The groundwater in a well completed in an unconfined aquifer is equal to the water table. Differences in the groundwater measured at multiple wells completed at different depths in a single location (well nest) indicate the general direction of vertical flow with in the aquifer.
ABQ Aquifer Characteristics Near KAFB:
The figure below illustrates how the stratigraphy (layers of sediment) of the area influences movement of the leaked fuel down to the water table. (click image for larger)