Decision nears on Manston Airport plan to discharge runway waste into the sea

28.1.2011 (This is Kent)

By Saul Leese

The Environment Agency will make a decision next month on plans to allow drainage
of runway waste into Pegwell Bay.

The government body invited residents to view the application made by Infratil,
the owners of Manston airport, at a meeting in Ramsgate last week.

Infratil wants to upgrade the existing surface water drainage pipeline. If approved,
the airport will install an interceptor tank capable of removing runoff water
from the taxiways, aprons and runway before discharging the waste into the sea.

At the meeting, held at the Channel Chamber’s offices in Ramsgate last Thursday,
concerns were raised over de-icers, also known as glycols, which cannot be removed
using filtration, entering the bay.

Marine biologist Ian Humphreyes , 47, who studied the point at which the water
would enter Pegwell Bay for the Environment Agency, said: “I have no worries about
that. I have seen nothing to ring alarm bells in my head. The water from Manston
is heavily diluted with fresh water from springs.”

Resident Malcolm Kirkaldie is concerned that glycols remove oxygen from water,
which could harm animal life. He said: “It would be nice to see an aeration system,
as they have at Gatwick.”

The discharge would pass through an interceptor before entering the sea.

Manston airport chief executive Charles Buchanan said: “The interceptor will
make sure that we capture anything, like oil, that can be harmful to the environment.
It offers another level of protection and complies with legislation.”

Mr Buchanan explained the new surface water pipeline will cost Infratil several
hundred thousand pounds to install.

The Environment Agency’s consultation on the plan has been extended until February

How does the process work? Interceptor tanks separate oil from water during discharge
by working to the principle that oil floats. They are used in schools, car washes
and car parks. Waste from Manston airport takes four hours to reach Pegwell.
see more on de-icers and glycols on Wikipedia at link   
Also more on de-icers and problems at Heathrow at  link

Airports, glycols in de-icing liquids and Heathrow local water pollution

Date Added: 2nd January 2011

There are two main water pollutants arising from the Heathrow site, glycol used
for de/anti-icing activities and hydrocarbons from oil and fuel. On 15th December,
before the heavy snow on 17th and 18th which closed the airport for several days,
that ” Heathrow had  500,000 litres of de-icing fluid at their disposal.” But
the de-icing chemicals are not without their environmental problems, and if allowed
to enter ground water or water courses, exert levels of biological oxygen demand
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