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Environment Department

KAFB Bulk Fuels Facility – Jet Fuel Plume Remediation

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About the Project  – Remediation Strategies
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As outlined in the 2016 Strategic Plan, NMED and KAFB continue to advance the fuel cleanup with multiple remediation strategies.

1 Goal / 4 Strategies

GOAL: Protect Albuquerque’s aquifer and drinking water supply wells in the area of the fuel leak.

 

2016 Strategies to Achieve the Goal

  1. Implement a robust site monitoring and wellhead protection program.
    Compliance monitoring (soil vapor and groundwater) for the RCRA permit, and monitoring of sentinel wells and water supply wells.

  2. Characterize and remediate LNAPL, impacted soil, and associated dissolved phases in source area.
    Inclusive of soil vapor, soil, and submerged LNAPL contamination at the site.

  3. Collapse the dissolved EDB plume.
    Collapse the dissolved-phase EDB plume and pull it back to the boundary of Kirtland AFB; will include additional treatment strategies during 2016.

  4. Meet or exceed all requirements for providing public information and involvement.
    Our continued effort to increase transparency and exceed requirements for public information and involvement.

 

Strategy 1

Implement a robust site monitoring and wellhead protection program
As fuel plume cleanup proceeds, the following plan is being implemented:

  • Continue to test for fuel contaminants at drinking water wellheads monthly (current regulatory requirements are for testing every 3 years).
  • Continue to test sentinel wells quarterly to provide early detection of any contaminant migration towards the drinking water wells.
  • Continue routine monitoring of soil and groundwater in compliance with the RCRA permit.
  • Complete quarterly sampling of influent water at the treatment system and of treated discharge water for compliance with NMED Ground Water Quality Bureau discharge permit.
  • Further optimization of soil and groundwater monitoring sampling network and frequency.

Any remaining data gaps in the definition of LNAPL nature and extent as well as the dissolved-phase plume will be identified in order to complete the conceptual site model and to continue to inform the design of a robust interim measure. The NMED will oversee the following actions to identify and address data gaps:

  • Drill, install, and sample up to 2 data gap groundwater monitoring wells near the northwestern edge of the plume to define the horizontal and vertical extent of EDB.
  • Evaluation of concentration gradients and trend analyses.
  • Evaluation of mass distribution of EDB in the groundwater.
  • Evaluation of data to determine the need for additional soil vapor monitoring points; drill and install additional points, if needed.

Performance Measures and Timeline

The success of Strategy 1 will be measured by:

  • Continued non-detectable test results in all sentinel wells and drinking water wells.
  • Continued compliance with WQCC and RCRA permit monitoring requirements.
  • Implementation of further optimization of the soil vapor and groundwater monitoring network and frequency.
  • Submittal of RCRA Facility Investigation Report with risk assessment.

If contaminants are detected in any of the sentinel or drinking water wells, there will be increased monitoring and/or intervention.

 

EDB in Shallow Groundwater at Kirtland AFB

The figure below illustrates the known extent of EDB in shallow groundwater relative to sentinel and water supply wells. Sentinel wells provide a mechanism for early detection of contamination migration, ensuring our ability to protect water supply wells.

Stratagey 1 EDB map

magnifying glass Click image to view larger

 

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Strategy 2

 

Characterize and remediate LNAPL, impacted soil, and associated dissolved phases in source area

 

Through continued collaboration with stakeholders and the technical working groups, develop data quality objectives for LNAPL in both the soil (vadose zone) and dissolved phases. Identify and fill data gaps in order to complete the conceptual site model for LNAPL distribution and nature in the vadose zone (soil), as well as the nature of its presence on and in the saturated zone. Conduct pilot tests of remediation technologies to evaluate performance and effectiveness of LNAPL treatment in the vadose zone and groundwater. Develop a robust interim measure treatment system based on evaluation of data collected during site investigation, implementation of pilot tests, and monitoring.

Characterization of LNAPL
The results of the 2015 soil vapor hydrocarbon rebound and biorespiration testing demonstrated that the nature and extent of LNAPL in the subsurface remains a data gap in the conceptual site model. The NMED will oversee the following actions to identify and address data gaps:

  • Collect continuous cores within the source area and along the plume edge for analysis. Targeted analyses will include geotechnical, geochemical, and microbiological methods.
  • Evaluation of concentration gradients and trend analyses within the vadose zone and at the water table.
  • Develop data quality objectives for LNAPL in the vadose zone and dissolved phases.

Interim Measures
In April 2015, soil vapor extraction was stopped to complete soil vapor rebound and biorespiration testing in order to identify areas of residual contamination and to evaluate the biodegradation capacity of the vadose zone. The results of those tests indicate there are zones of residual contamination in the soil that are candidates for field-scale pilot tests that would evaluate remediation technologies as interim measures.

Scaled-up laboratory and field pilot tests will be conducted for critical evaluation of remediation technologies that are deemed to be potentially feasible. NMED will oversee evaluations performed by the Air Force and their contractors to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of a variety of remediation technologies:

  • Anaerobic bioremediation recirculation (introducing amendments to stimulate native aquifer bacteria to enhance biodegradation of contaminants);
  • Bioventing (introduction of low air flow rates into the subsurface to provide enough oxygen to sustain microbial activity); and
  • Bioremediation sparging (blowing air into the groundwater to push contaminants into vapor and enhance biodegradation in both the vadose zone and groundwater).

 

In 2015, the technical working groups generated a list of potential remediation technologies for evaluation as interim measures. This list will continue to be discussed and revised as pilot tests are conducted and as data is collected.

A work plan for an anaerobic bioremediation recirculation pilot test is expected to be submitted to the NMED in Winter 2015 with the pilot test beginning operation in Summer 2016. This pilot test involves the mixing of amendments into the groundwater in order to stimulate natural bacteria so that they can do a better job of biodegrading contaminants (see figure below).

 

Conceptual Diagram of Bioremediation Recirculation

 

Bioremediation diagram

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Bioventing is another interim measure being considered for source area remediation. This technology is the process of stimulating the natural in situ biodegradation of contaminants in soil by providing air or oxygen to existing soil microorganisms (see figure below).

 

Conceptual Diagram of Bioventing

bioventing diagram

magnifying glass Click image to view larger

 

The soil vapor hydrocarbon rebound and biorespiration test data also supports the design and construction of a bioremediation sparging pilot test utilizing an existing soil vapor extraction well to target residual contamination at depth. The bioremediation sparge technology involves the injection of air into the groundwater, near the surface, creating a zone of aeration. As the groundwater is aerated, contamination is driven into the vapor phase. This remediation technology can also enhance biodegradation of contaminant, both below and above the water table.

 

Conceptual Diagram of Bioremediation Sparging

Air Sparging diagram

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Final Corrective Measure Evaluation, Selection, and Implementation

  • In accordance with the requirements of RCRA, interim measure performance data (e.g. bioventing mass removal) and other information will be evaluated to select and implement final corrective measure(s) for source area remediation. This may include a combination of different treatments.
  • Establish metrics to determine when source area remediation is complete.
  • Establish soil vapor cleanup concentrations that will be protective of groundwater.
  • Operation, maintenance, and optimization of the remediation system until metrics approved by NMED are met.

Performance Measures and Timeline

The success of Strategy 2 will be measured by:

  • Completion of coring and analyses by Winter 2015/Spring 2016 to characterize the nature and extent of the LNAPL;
  • Preparations of work plans by Winter 2015 and Spring 2016 for field-scale anaerobic biodegradation recirculation, bioventing, and bioremediation sparging pilot tests; and
  • Implementation of field-scale anaerobic biodegradation recirculation, bioventing, and air sparging pilot tests.

 

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Strategy 3

Collapse the dissolved EDB plume

 

Develop a robust monitoring and pump and treat system to:

  • Stop migration of EDB towards drinking water wells;
  • Extract and treat EDB contaminated groundwater; and
  • Collapse the EDB plume back towards the Kirtland AFB boundary.

NMED will oversee the following actions to be performed by the Air Force and their contractors:

  • Use hydrogeological data and numerical modeling simulations, as appropriate, to locate and design up to 4 additional extraction wells located throughout the dissolved-phase EDB plume.
  • Drill and install up to 4 additional groundwater extraction wells.
  • Construct a pipeline to convey water from the new groundwater extraction wells to the full-scale treatment system.
  • Upgrade the current granular activated carbon filtration system to treat up to 800 gallons per minute of extracted water to at least the EPA drinking water MCL of 0.05 µg/L. System will be designed to handle the capacity from the maximum number of extraction wells to be installed.
  • Evaluate performance data from the pilot test conducted at well KAFB 7 for the injection of treated groundwater, permitted by the NMED Ground Water Quality Bureau.
  • Evaluate percolation test data to determine the viability of infiltration galleries for the discharge of treated groundwater. If applicable, submit work plans and construct an infiltration gallery, permitted by the NMED Ground Water Quality Bureau, to disperse the treated water into the subsurface and allow it to recharge groundwater.
  • Explore other options for the beneficial use of treated water such as landscape irrigation and dust control.

 

Conceptual Diagram of Pump and Treat Remediation

pump and treat system diagram

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pump & treat system map

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“Collapsing the plume” refers to the collective actions of an extraction well system that will locally reverse ground water flow gradients, pulling the EDB contamination south and away from Water Utility Authority drinking water wells. The system will contain, capture, and extract the EDB plume, reducing its area and eliminating its potential for threatening clean drinking water wells. Contaminated water extracted from the EDB plume is treated to drinking water standards.

Animations of EDB plume collapse:

A plume of ethylene dibromide (EDB) dissolved from jet fuel that leaked into Albuquerque’s groundwater from KAFB in the ’50’s and 60’s. This 10-year simulation shows how the EDB plume will be pulled back towards the drowned LNAPL area, reducing it’s size and it’s threat to drinking water wells in the Ridgecrest Well Field. Work to collapse the plume began in 2014.

The first extraction and treatment system became operational in June 2015 and two additional wells were added in December 2015.  Additional extraction wells will be added based on performance data of the first three. This pump and treat system will continue operating until the plume is fully contained (beyond 10 years).

These animation models, updated in November 2015, were produced by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6.

Video 1
As viewed from ABOVE, this model shows a simulation of how the extraction wells in the pump and treat system act to collapse the EDB plume by extracting the contaminated groundwater which is then treated to drinking water standards.  (Link to video on YouTube)

Video 2

As viewed from BELOW, this model shows a simulation of how the extraction wells in the pump and treat system act to collapse the EDB plume by extracting the contaminated groundwater which is then treated to drinking water standards.   (Link to video on YouTube)

 

 

Final Corrective Measure Evaluation, Selection, and Implementation

  • In accordance with the requirements of RCRA, interim measure performance data (e.g. pump and treat capture zones) and other information will be evaluated to select and implement final corrective measure(s) for groundwater remediation. This may include a combination of different treatments.
  • Implement long-term operation, maintenance, and optimization of pump and treat system to collapse the EDB plume and pull it back towards the boundary of Kirtland AFB.

 

Performance Measures and Timeline
The success of Strategy 3 will be measured by:

  • Installation of up to 4 additional groundwater extraction wells by Fall 2016;
  • Activation of the full-scale treatment system with the increased capacity of 800 gpm of extracted groundwater by December 2016;
  • Installation and sampling of additional data gap groundwater monitoring wells by December 2016; and
  • Continued monitoring of influent and treated discharge water for the EDB plume collapse treatment system.

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Strategy 4

 

Meet or exceed all requirements for providing public information and involvement

Our continued goal is to communicate accurate, comprehensive information to the public. We hold poster sessions to make our experts directly available to the public, offer field trips to educate the public on the geology and remediation activities of the area, host public meetings, and post information on our website. The public is invited to attend the public meetings and other numerous outreach opportunities that the NMED provides throughout each step along the path to final remedy.

  • Continue to maintain the NMED and Kirtland AFB fuel leak cleanup websites (links in Appendix A) to make correspondence and technical information readily available to the public. Documents to be posted include, but will not necessarily be limited to, proposed and final work plans, quarterly reports, technical working group meeting minutes, RFI reports, and NMED approval letters.
  • Continue to maintain a NMED Listserv to send out periodic messages informing the public of important news and opportunities for involvement.
  • Co-host at least 3-4 public update meetings to include informative poster sessions, presentations and an open question / answer session.
  • Make presentations, as requested, to neighborhood associations, city and county governmental agencies, legislative committees, and to other organizations interested in the KAFB fuel cleanup.
  • Host field trips, in coordination with other stakeholders, to inform the public about site geology, hydrology, geochemistry, and cleanup actions.
  • Explore potential for facilitated public working groups to address various components of site investigation and cleanup. Host working group sessions, in coordination with other stakeholders, if public interest exists.
  • Conduct periodic surveys and interviews with area residents to determine specific areas of concern and additional outreach needs.
  • Continually identify additional opportunities for constructive public outreach and communication.
  • Update this Strategic Plan on an annual basis.

Performance Measures and Timeline

The success of Strategy 4 will be measured by:

  • Participation and public satisfaction in three public meetings, spring, summer and fall/winter, 2016;
  • Participation and public satisfaction in 1 to 2 field trips;
  • Participation and public satisfaction in other organized public participation events; and
  • Issuance of a draft 2017 Strategic Plan in December 2016.

 

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