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Railway investigates contaminated groundwater at fueling station

By Heather Harrison
New Mexico Business Weekly
March 14, 2002

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway has received approval from the New Mexico Environment Department to further investigate soil and groundwater contamination caused by diesel leaks and spills at the railway’s Albuquerque fueling area.

Burlington says diesel released at this facility has contaminated groundwater in excess of the New Mexico Water Quality Control Commission standards. The commission is the state water pollution control agency for the state.

The fueling area is located southeast of Downtown Albuquerque between Copper Ave. to the north, Iron Ave. to the south, east of 1st St. and one block west of Broadway Blvd.

Bart Faris, environmental specialist for the New Mexico Environment Department, notes that the railway first noticed a problem back in 1998. Burlington submitted an abatemant plan that year, which included installation of 15 groundwater monitoring wells in the Albuquerque fueling station. Yet Faris, who oversaw the process, says that once the wells were installed, they didn’t accurately measure the problem.

Faris says these plans are standard for a railway like Burlington. He says the railway must abide by commission standards and report any contamination, including diesel leaks, to the department.

Burlington’s two-phase plan is similar to the one it submitted in 1998. It includes additional installation of more groundwater monitoring wells to better target the contamination problem. Stage 2 of the plan includes a proposal for cleaning up the contamination. Burlington will invite public comment on stage 2 of the plan and then send the final version to the department for approval, Faris says.


New Lego exhibit at the Wheels Museum. View The New Mexico Lego Users Group has
partnered with WHEELS to have a beautiful Lego Train layout for children of all ages to enjoy. The exhibit will vary from season to season and we invite you to come see this new Lego train exhibit.

January 8, 15, 22, 29 – Sunday morning admission free from 9 am-1 pm at the Albuquerque Museum and the City’s International Balloon Museum.

Do you have a few hours each month to help the Wheels Museum? Volunteers are needed so the Museum can be open more; run the model railroad trains, also help needed with events, marketing, fund raising. Call Leba Freed at (505) 243-6269.

Febuary 16, 11 am. Bob Bovee Long Steel Rails concert. This program for all ages presents songs and stories about the famous trains, rail workers, hobos, train wrecks and train robbers. Call or email Leba Freed for reservations at (505) 243-6269 or leba4@aol.com.

March 17, Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at WHEELS. Movie, tours, train ride and food celebration.

April 1, 1 pm. Doug Figgs and Badger. Back by popular demand. By reservations only (505) 243- 6269. Doug’s show was sold out last year, so call early! Donation: $10.00.

April 8, 11 am. “Historic Albuquerque” Ronn Perea will present old Albuquerque anecdotes including delightful stories about our beloved Alvarado Hotel and the politicians, actors and entertainers who stayed there. This is a free event but, of course, donations are always appreciated.

April 22, Wheels Museum Day trip to Rancho De Chimayo Restaurante, El Santuario de Chimayo and the Santa Fe Plaza. Call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for more information. The museum is a 501C3 non-profit community organization whose mission is to create a transportation museum at the downtown Albuquerque Steam Locomotive Repair Shops.

May 19-May 23, Train trip to the Grand Canyon. Only a few spaces left.Scheduled through Amtrak Vacations, call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for reservations and more information.