Aerospace & Military

In the winter months aeroplanes, runways and landing strips are de-iced with the help of chemicals resulting in the pollution of storm water. Consequently, its disposal may have an extreme impact on waste water treatment plants or public water. Hence, the continuous monitoring of this storm water is of special importance.

Types of Water

  • De-icing water
  • Surface water
  • Waste water
  • Water effluent
  • Discharge control

Water Management at Airports

3D application scheme of water treatment at airports
3D application scheme of water treatment at airports

Effective water management

  • Storage of waste water in buffer tanks 
  • Very fast and precise measurement technologies to monitor and control loads
  • Monitoring parameters TOC, COD

De-icing of runways and aircrafts is necessary due to safety reasons since ice and snow negatively influence the weight and aerodynamics of an aircraft.

A mixture of chemicals - de-icing agents and thickening agents – is used to keep airports and planes free from ice and snow. These chemicals are mainly:

  • Glycol
  • Acetates
  • Formates

This highly adhesive chemical mixture works like a sponge so that a certain amount of the winter precipitation is absorbed and liquified.
These adhesive characteristics of waste water of de-iced surfaces are the main challenges to monitoring systems:

  • Residual traces of previous sample water falsify the results of the current measurement (memory and/or cross-over effects)
  • Systems that require filtration and/or are designed with thin sample tubes will require increased maintenance efforts due to clogging and blocking

Main goal is cost-effective water management and discharge. The least expensive way to discharge effluents is into public water bodies. However, the critical values for public discharge are very low:

Example: For the river Rhine (Germany) the discharge regulation stipulates 150 mg/l O2

Challenges of effluent discharge from airports

  • Discharge into municipal WWTP requires stable outlet loads to optimize treatment processes
  • Waste water from de-iced surfaces has strongly fluctuating loads
  • Extremely high loads of up to 50,000 mg/l C are common

Need further information?

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