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.

De-icing water

For de-icing chemicals such as glycol, acetates or formates are used which are additionally mixed with thickening agents in order to improve adhesion to surfaces. This adhesion works like a sponge so that a certain amount of the winter precipitation is absorbed and liquified by the deicing agents. This is necessary due to safety as ice and snow negatively influence the weight and aerodynamics of an aircraft.

Because of its adhesive characteristics de-icing water causes huge memory and carry-over effects with online monitoring systems. Hereby, residual traces of previous measurements falsify the results of the current measurement. Furthermore, due to this characteristic neither filtration nor transportation through thin tubing is recommended.

Another challenge is the strongly fluctuating loads. On one hand, the critical values for public discharge are very low, the discharge regulation for the river Rhine for example stipulates 150 mg/l O2. On the other hand, it must be possible to measure high concentrations of up to 50.000 mg/l C accurately. Therefore, a very fast and precise measurement technique is required in order to discharge most of the water into the discharge system in a cost efficient way. Depending on the concentration / load it can be discharged into a WWTP or storage basin.

Water management at airports

Schematic view of water management at airports
Schematic view of water management at airports

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