By Scott Wallace, P.E., President, Naturally Wallace Consulting and Mark Liner, PE, Senior Engineer, Naturally Wallace Consulting
How bad was last winter? We all have different ways to answer that; but for airports, it can be measured by how much chemical was used to keep planes and pavement free of snow and ice. And, by that metric, the past two winters have been unusually severe for European airports. In the case of London Gatwick, chemical use jumped over five times compared to levels in the past decade.
While keeping air flight safe, airports and airlines are also obliged to clean up after themselves and protect nearby streams and water bodies. And due to increasing chemical usage and looming regulations, some airports will need to invest in significant infrastructure upgrades to capture and treat stormwater contaminated with deicing fluid.