Sub-surface flow wetlands to treat glycol-contaminated stormwater from aircraft de-icing operations, Batea

Airports use glycol-based aircraft de-icing fluids (ADFs) for removing ice and snow from aircraft surfaces during winter and under frost conditions. Some relatively concentrated, spent ADF (Concentrate) may be collected from beneath aircraft for recycle or disposal at a local wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), but a significant part of the ADF at every
airport will end up in sewers and ditches, be blown by jet or prop wash onto areas adjacent to de-icing pads, drip off onto aprons and runways during aircraft movement, or be collected with removed snow and ice. There are various on site and off-site methods available to treat glycol-contaminated airport runoff, and one that is attracting increasing interest is the use of constructed wetlands (CWs) for treatment. Because the attraction of bwaterfowl is not desirable at airports, CWs considered for them are usually of the subsurface flow (SSF) variety in which there is no open water and where the runoffs being treated flow under the normally dry surfaces of beds of gravel in which wetland plants are growing.

This paper reviews two airport projects for the treatment of glycol-contaminated stormwater runoff in SSF CWs, one that has resulted in a large operating SSF CW, that at Edmonton International Airport (EIA), and one for an advanced form of CW, an engineered wetland (EW), which is now under construction, that at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA). (Engineered wetlands are semi-passive kinds of CWs in which process conditions are more actively manipulated and controlled.) For both projects, preliminary off-site, pilot-scale wetlands treatability testing was carried out to define feasibility and determine kinetic and other parameters needed to proceed with the design of full-scale facilities. This paper also reviews the treatability test results, overviews the design of the full-scale facilities, and demonstrates that the use of SSF wetlands to treat glycol-contaminated stormwater runoff at northern airports is Best
Available Technology, Economically Available (BATEA).

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