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Officials to mark 'milestone' in Kirtland Air Force Base fuel spill cleanup


ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Officials are marking the first time contaminated groundwater associated with the Kirtland Bulk Fuels Facility leak has been extracted.

Sen. Martin Heinrich and Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham are scheduled Thursday to join U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James at the base to acknowledge the move amid lingering concerns about the spill.

First detected in 1999, the fuel leak is believed to have been seeping into the ground for decades. Estimates of the amount of fuel spilled range from 6 million to 24 million gallons.

The greatest concern has been that the spill would contaminate drinking water wells in the Southeast Heights. The treatment system is part of an effort to keep the contamination from reaching those wells.

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