Airport deicing effluent treatment and regulatory guidelines

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Airport and airplane deicing is employed with the use of brines, salts, alcohols or glycols to remove and prevent or delay the formation of snow and ice.  In the United States (US), the Federal Aviation Administration requires airlines that operate during icy conditions to perform deicing and anti-icing of aircraft and airfield pavement (USEPA 2011a).  These deicing operations use large amounts of chemicals, which may drain off airport facilities to nearby rivers, lakes, streams and bays (USEPA 2009). Airports that conduct aircraft deicing operations, have 1,000 or more annual jet departures or have 10,000 or more total annual departures would be required to collect spent aircraft deicing fluid and treat the wastewater (Goodwin 2011).  According to Goodwin (2011), the airports may either treat the wastewater on site or send it to an offsite treatment contractor or publicly owned treatment works.  Airports are required to obtain stormwater discharge permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Program and ensure that wastes from deicing operations are properly collected and treated (USEPA 2011a).

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