Airports across the United States face increasing regulatory and technical challenges for addressing runoff containing glycol-based aircraft deicing and anti-icing fluids (ADFs) associated with deicing operations. The handling and discharging of this runoff, which represents millions of gallons of stormwater and wastewater, present unique challenges for airports as requirements vary from state to state. Although the Effluent Limitation Guideline (ELG) being developed by the EPA will likely standardize effluent limits and/or collection efficiency requirements, it will not provide airports with the information needed to evaluate treatment options or help them achieve the new effluent limitations with which they must comply. Several airports have applied biological treatment as a method of treating deicing stormwater runoff; however, the effects of cold water temperatures on system performance have not been sufficiently researched or documented. In addition, the potential effect of stormwater that contains a mixture of aircraft and pavement deicers on treatment efficiency has not been investigated. Research is needed to evaluate both onsite and offsite treatment and pretreatment solutions for deicing runoff generated at airports.
The objectives of this research are to (1) identify available and emerging onsite and offsite technologies for treating stormwater impacted by airport deicing activities, (2) evaluate the performance of available technologies as implemented at airports, and (3) provide guidance to help airports select technologies for treating deicing-impacted stormwater.