State environment and Kirtland Air Force Base officials are beginning the first large-scale test of a system for pumping and cleaning up contamination from a huge underground jet fuel spill.
Officials are holding a news conference Wednesday to showcase the system, which will pump 70,000 gallons of contaminated water from the underground aquifer that feeds Albuquerque's water supply . The water will be pumped to nearby mobile tanks for filtering and treatment.
The fuel came from what officials now believe was a 40-year leak from underground pipes at a Kirtland aircraft fuel loading facility.
The leak was discovered in 1999.
The size of the spill has been estimated as large as 24 million gallons - or twice the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill .
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