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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.


Railyard Worker Commemorative Plaques. Honor a loved one who worked on the railroad, honor a WHEELS volunteer or honor the WHEELS Museum. WHEELS is now selling plaques with name plates for $100.00 per name.  Keep the memory of these people alive in perpetuity with a gorgeous wooden plaque with brass name plate. Thank those who made our city and state successful, built the railroad, continue to work to preserve our history and create our future. The plaques will be displayed in the Community Room at WHEELS.

Contact Paulette Miller Weir who is graciously supporting the project and has volunteered to orchestrate this work. Her phone number is (505) 227-3270.  Please send checks for $100.00 per name and a few other words such as dates of birth or death or job held to WHEELS Museum, PO Box 95438 Albuquerque, NM 97199 or contact Ms. Miller Weir for any questions.  We can also accept credit cars payment by calling WHEELS-6269.

June 24, 10 - Noon, “LEGO Club Meeting”. See how LEGOS become vehicles, houses, bridges, animals and view amazing Lego displays. Learn how to build with Legos and meet Lego Masters. Space is limited.  Children are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult. Call Leba at (505) 243-6269  or email to Leba4@aol.com.. Admission is free, donations are encouraged.

July 1, 1-2 pm, "Strings and Sings" Robin Howard in concert. “Strings and Sings” is a solo project of singer/songwriter Robin Howard. Robin covers all popular styles of music including Country, Classic Rock, Folk, Blues, and even original tunes. His music has earned him both praise and support from local musicians in Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. RSVP:505-243-6269 or email to Leba4@aol.com. Fee: $ 10.00

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.