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 ANALYSIS


WINTER OPERATIONS: LIMITING THE IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT


As a result of an increased use of deicer fluids on aircraft and runways, Heathrow Airport has invested in an innovative way of treating contaminated wastewater which has helped it meet its environmental targets. Gary Mason reports


A


irports often have no control over the application of deicing fluids as the airlines contract


deicing services directly. Each contractor uses different deicers with various concentrations and charge for how much deicer is used so there is little or no incentive to use less within the bounds of safety.


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF WINTER OPERATIONS Deicers enter the wastewaster system by mixing with snow melt and rain from the runways and stands as well as sheering off the planes during take-off creating a need to treat these contaminated wastewaters produced as a direct result of the deicing operations. Deiciers have an impact on the


environment as they create an oxygen demand on the receiving water. As they degrade they use up


airportfocusinternational.com


the available oxygen in the water which can be detrimental to fish and invertebrates. This pollution is measured by using biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) which measures the oxygen used by microbial degradation and the chemical oxidation processes. The question is: how do you treat these contaminated wastewaters and


Heathrow – fast facts Site size


Traffic volume


protect ground and surface waters against a backdrop of increasingly stringent discharge consents?


RECOVERY OF DEICERS Recovery is an important factor in minimising environmental impacts. Research into the recovery and reuse of deicers has identified inherent


1227 Ha 69 Km of airside road


1350 movements per day. 2 runways, 233 stands serving 86 airlines flying to 183 destinations


Southern catchment Weather events of winter of 2012


290 Ha of which 78% is impermeable


Heathrow had five snow events whereas Oslo had 100


AF / January 2014 / 11


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