The National Academies

ACRP 02-19 [Final]

Winter Design Storm Factors for Airport Stormwater Management

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: CH2M Hill
Principal Investigator: Dean Mericas
Effective Date: 6/24/2010
Completion Date: 12/1/2012


Winter storms are highly variable and present significant operational challenges for airlines and airport operators who must ensure compliance with both aircraft safety standards and environmental standards. As a result, the design of airport infrastructure to manage stormwater from aircraft deicing operations cannot be standardized from airport to airport. Development of stormwater management systems for "worst-case" deicing events could result in high cost for management of rare events. Alternatively, a stormwater management system that allows for frequent overflows could raise concerns about the ability to meet permit limits and/or water quality standards. A winter design storm is a single precipitation event or a sequence of precipitation events that a stormwater management system is designed to handle. There are various factors that are used in determining an airport’s winter design storm, specifically, differences in the intensity of precipitation, the form of precipitation, the lag period between precipitation and run-off, and the need for and/or intensity of deicing activities. These factors result in large differences in the quantity and quality of run-off that requires management. The quantity and quality of run-off from aircraft deicing affects how airports are able to meet federal and state water quality standards. Determining the winter design storm is part of the process an airport must use in developing a stormwater management system to control aircraft deicing run-off, and airport operators need further guidance on how to define the relevant factors that should be considered in determining their winter design storm.


The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook for airport designers and operators to define the relevant winter storm design factors and how they should be considered in determining a winter design storm for the purpose of sizing and selecting a collection, conveyance, storage, and treatment system in the management of run-off from aircraft deicing operations.

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