Stantec project to treat airport runoff wins engineering honors


Designed by North American design firm Stantec, a system to treat spent de-icing fluid and polluted runoff at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA) has received an Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC).

At the organization’s annual gala in Washington, DC last month, ACEC officials presented the project team, which included Stantec, civil engineering consultant Urban Engineers of New York, and BNIA’s owner, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, with an Honor Award for the project, one of 16 given out nationally this year. The $10 million project was selected for the award for its development of what is called an “engineered wetland” to help the airport treat contaminated water resulting from cold weather aircraft de-icing.

In this process, aircraft are sprayed with a glycol solution to remove ice, and spent glycol and glycol-contaminated stormwater runoff are collected and pumped into four football-field-sized, 5-feet-thick, underground gravel beds designed by Stantec. In these gravel beds, an aeration system provides oxygen to allow bacteria on the pieces of gravel to essentially digest the pollutants in the liquid, cleaning it up as is passes through. The clean water is then discharged into the airport’s stormwater disposal system. 

“No one has built an engineered wetland treatment system like this before,” says Jim Higgins, senior consultant at Stantec and leader of the project. “We think it is a ground-breaking development in airport stormwater treatment and are quite proud to see that our peers in the engineering community agree.”

Stantec won a number of other awards from ACEC state chapters this year as well, including California awards for a large geographic information systems project and a complicated stormwater treatment system at a resort; a Maine award for a project to reduce greenhouse gases at a power plant; New York awards for the reconstruction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, the lighting of the Peace Bridge, and the new South Ferry subway terminal; and Vermont awards for a bridge reconstruction project and another kind of wetland treatment system at Burlington International Airport.

Stantec provides professional consulting services in planning, engineering, architecture, interior design, landscape architecture, surveying, environmental sciences, project management, and project economics for infrastructure and facilities projects. We support public and private sector clients in a diverse range of markets in the infrastructure and facilities sector at every stage, from initial concept and financial feasibility to project completion and beyond. Our services are offered through approximately 9,300 employees operating out of over 130 locations in North America. Stantec trades on the TSX and the NYSE under the symbol STN. Stantec is One Team providing Infinite Solutions.

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