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Description of groundwater monitoring wells installed at and near Kirtland Air Force Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2013-2016

Metadata Updated: October 28, 2023

This is a data release comprised of data compiled during the construction of monitoring wells at four sentinel well sites: Trumbull, Cesar Chavez, Southern, and VA. These wells are located in southeastern Albuquerque, New Mexico (Figures 1 and 2). Between March 2013 and April 2016, the United States Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority and the U.S. Air Force Civil Engineer Center, installed 22 wells at four sites on and near Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB). The wells, installed in response to an aviation fuel spill that was discovered in 1999 at the Bulk Fuels Facility (BFF) on KAFB, were screened at varying depths in order to characterize the aquifer at shallow, intermediate, and deep depths. Groundwater contaminant plumes at the water table, comprised of various constituents of aviation fuels, including ethylene dibromide (EDB), have been determined to extend north-northeast from the BFF (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2017). The primary function of the USGS sentinel wells is to allow early detection of the EDB plume, in protection of nearby community water-supply wells. The well locations were selected to provide 5-10 years of advanced warning of plume migration towards supply wells. Decisions regarding well locations were aided by groundwater modeling (Ellinger, 2013; Air Force Civil Engineering Center, 2013). Personnel from the USGS Western Region Research Drilling Project, under the direction of a USGS Mew Mexico Water Science Center hydrologist, drilled boreholes, then constructed and developed wells. The boreholes were primarily drilled using direct mud-rotary drilling methods with a tricone rotary bit (S. Crawford, USGS, written communication, 2018), except for the shallow boreholes at Cesar Chavez and Southern sites, which used a percussive air-hammer method (S. Crawford, USGS, written communication, 2018) due to lithological conditions. The percussive air-hammer system used advances casing during the drilling process. Both mud rotary and the percussive air-hammer are good drilling methods in unconsolidated formations where borehole collapse is likely (Hammermeister and others, 1986). Drill cuttings were collected at 10-foot intervals from the boreholes at all sites. A USGS hydrologist described the cuttings from each borehole. The cuttings are archived at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, in Socorro, New Mexico. Staff from the USGS Texas Water Science Center performed geophysical logging in the boreholes prior to well construction using a Century Geophysical system 6 and a Mount Sopris Matrix system (J. Thomas, USGS, written communication, 2018). The suite of geophysical logs included caliper, gamma, neutron, long- and short-spaced density, density porosity, neutron porosity, resistivity (including long-normal, short-normal, single-point resistivity, and lateral resistivity), spontaneous-potential, and electrical-conductivity logs. See attached selected geophysical logs for details. In February, 2016, the Cesar Chavez and Southern pumping wells were grouted to a shallower depth to aid in aquifer characterization activities. Cesar Chavez was grouted to 826 feet (ft) below land surface (bls), but the grout has since been located at 952 ft bls, most likely a result of settling. The Southern pumping well was grouted up to 877 ft bls. The Trumbull site has 3 wells in a single borehole (Figure 3). The Cesar Chavez and Southern sites each have 8 wells in 4 boreholes (Figures 4 and 5). The sentinel wells, designated A, B, C, and D are located in 2 boreholes, with the A well located in a borehole by itself; the pumping well, designated E, is located in a single borehole, and the observation wells, designated F, G, and H, are located in a single borehole. The purpose of the observation and pumping wells at the Cesar Chavez and Southern sites was for a planned aquifer test. The VA site has 3 wells in a single borehole (Figure 6). For detailed construction and development information, see the attached construction diagrams and table of well construction data. For detailed construction and development information, see the attached figures and table. References: Air Force Civil Engineer Center, 2013, Contingency plan for groundwater production wells near the bulk fuels facility spill area, prepared by CH2MHILL, Albuquerque, New Mexico, variously paged. Accessed August 17, 2018, at
Ellinger, Scott, 2013, Simulated mass transport of 1,2-dibromoethane in groundwater of southeast Albuquerque, New Mexico: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 6, 79 p. Accessed August 17, 2018, at Hammermeister, D.P., Blout, D.O., and McDaniel, J.C., 1986, Drilling and coring methods that minimize the disturbance of cuttings, core, and rock formations in the unsaturated zone, Yucca Mountain, Nevada, in Proceedings of the NWWA Conference on Characterization and Monitoring of the Vadose (Unsaturated) Zone: National Water Well Association, Worthington, Ohio, p. 507-541. Accessed August 17, 2018, at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 2017, RCRA facility investigation report bulk fuels facility release solid waste management unit ST-106/SS-111 Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico: prepared by Sundance Consulting, Inc., Albuquerque, New Mexico, variously paged. Accessed August 17, 2018, at

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: No license information was provided. If this work was prepared by an officer or employee of the United States government as part of that person's official duties it is considered a U.S. Government Work.

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Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOI EDI

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date June 1, 2023
Metadata Updated Date October 28, 2023
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Identifier USGS:5a72291de4b0a9a2e9de3bea
Data Last Modified 20211005
Category geospatial
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 010:12
Metadata Context
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Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id be086308-f566-41c5-8f76-cdca1e772427
Harvest Source Id 52bfcc16-6e15-478f-809a-b1bc76f1aeda
Harvest Source Title DOI EDI
Metadata Type geospatial
Old Spatial -106.583,35.042,-106.55,35.075
Publisher Hierarchy White House > U.S. Department of the Interior > U.S. Geological Survey
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash b4432359bce115cdc72b87c85d38cdd2e970a704d96a5564adbaf4fb93bb9d0c
Source Schema Version 1.1
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