Helping airports determine whether effluent is clean enough to be discharged into the environment


Wastewater monitoring at airports is an on-going necessity. Airports have a multitude of needs for water monitoring and are under increasing pressure to manage their wastewater discharges more efficiently. Much legislation surrounds the management and protection of water resources and water quality and a water quality action plan is needed.

surface water

Airports have very large areas of hard standing that can generate a significant amount of surface water runoff. That surface water can contain  fuel, chemicals from cleaning and the de-icing process, plus any other pollutants or dangerous substances, which poses significant risk to the water bodies in and around the airport if not effectively managed.

During periods of rainfall, the run off rate is magnified. The use of balancing ponds can help manage the rates of discharge flow to water courses. Balancing ponds can help mitigate flood risk and can be useful Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS) for retaining, and to some extent, breaking down pollutants.

De-icer is applied to the surfaces of aircraft during colder periods where the formation of ice would create hazardous conditions. De-icing fluids have adhesive characteristics and are harmful to the environment and can be monitored using TOC and COD parameters.

Washing and Cleaning
Aircraft stands are cleaned regularly using detergent in order to remove oil deposits and any loose debris which would otherwise cause damage to aircraft. Washing activities will also remove participles of heavy metals, which will make their way into the wastewater.

Both aviation fuel and ground vehicle fuel spills are regular occurrences for an airport during normal operations.

Trade effluent monitoring

Detectronic is a specialist in wastewater monitoring and can help airports determine whether effluent is clean enough to be discharged into the environment or if it must be processed in a wastewater treatment plant first. The quality of industrial wastewater is generally characterised by kg/day based on:

  • COD
  • Settled Solids
  • Suspended Solids

The ORAKEL System is an all in one measuring system, allowing you to measure flow, levels, pH, temperature, COD, conductivity, turbidity and any other parameter through one control unit.

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TOC/COD monitoring

The characteristics and strength of an airports surface water will fluctuate strongly over the year, especially the TOC and COD levels associated with De-icing fluids.

There are several methods used for measuring TOC and COD levels and prices vary signficantly depending on the method and accuracy levels needed.

The ORAKEL TOC/COD monitor uses the UV254 parameter to monitor contamination levels. The results are instantaneous and will enable users to view whether they are within a safe range.

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Clamp on flow meters are ideal, non invasive solutions for measuring flow rates in difficult to reach measuring points and pipe network.

The ORAKEL Time of Flight flow monitor is quick and easy to install and capable of measuring almost any fluid including water, oils, alcohol, petrochemicals and more. It could be used for variety of things in an airport including measuring the flow of:

  • Hydraulic oil
  • Fuel distribution
  • De-icer fluid or other hazardous liquids
  • Water supply pipes

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related case studies

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