Browse Publications Technical Papers 2011-38-0084

Airport Deicing - Changing Environmental Regulations and Airport Strategies to Respond 2011-38-0084

Airports and airlines continue to work together to offer safe, reliable and cost-effective access to the world. There are many complex interactions at an airport, and addressing environmental issues is just one of the many functions an airport and airline must master. One of the key environmental issues affecting airports/airlines where frost or freezing conditions occur is the safe, efficient and environmentally protective management of deicer-affected storm water. Even those airports in the warmer southern United States have periods of freezing weather, whereby aircraft must be deiced. Although infrequent, the potential exists for adverse effects, and the need to establish a management plan based on risk is paramount.
There are dozens of methods, operating procedures and protocols, and capital investments available for managing deicer-affected storm water, including source reduction measures, application area modification, diversion and collection methods, conveyance, storage, disposal and/or treatment technologies. Many technologies have been tried, some have proven highly successful and effective, others continue to be challenged to meet long-term needs. Coupling the technology challenge with the fact that environmental regulations continue to change and become more stringent only exacerbates the need to have an effective strategy to evaluate the approach airports and airlines should take to develop a long-term solution to deicer-affected runoff management.
This paper is dedicated to helping airports understand the alternatives, challenges, and important considerations for developing or furthering their deicer management system. The sheer number of alternatives for managing deicer-affected storm water can be overwhelming for any airport. Even after dismissing alternatives that are clearly infeasible, airports are often at a loss as to what to implement. Sometimes, airports end up frustrated after implementing what appeared to be the “simplest” solution because they realize that their methods aren't sufficient to meet permit requirements a few years down the road, or, after significant capital investment, their solution won't work with the design of a new terminal, or their controls are too complex or expensive to operate. As such, it is important to thoroughly understand the key factors that affect the management of deicer and have an effective plan for implementing controls and changes to those controls in the future. Considering deicer management needs in airport master planning, and land use development planning facilitates incorporation of deicer management into future airport plans, providing for more efficient use of land and capital.


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