Managing airport stormwater containing deicers: challenges and opportunities

  • Xianming Shi
  • Stephen M. Quilty
  • Thomas Long
  • Anand Jayakaran
  • Laura Fay
  • Gang Xu


Stormwater runoff at airports is a significant and costly issue, especially for the stormwater laden with deicing contaminants of high Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and aquatic toxicity. To reduce the loading of deicing constituents in stormwater and to manage the increasing pressure of tightening regulations, identifying fate and transport and evaluating environmental risks of deicing stormwater are of critical importance. In this review, the regulatory development of airport deicing stormwater management was first discussed, along with the milestone Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 14 publication. The deicer usage and fugitive losses can be reduced and the amount of deicer collected can be increased by having a better understanding of the fate and transport of deicing constituents in stormwater. As such, an overview and evaluation of the constituents of concern in deicers were provided to support the assessment of environmental impacts and mitigation recommendations. The state of knowledge of airport deicing stormwater management was then reviewed, which needs to be synthesized into a national guidance document. A guidebook and a decision tool for airports were proposed to adopt specific practical stormwater management strategies while balancing their priorities in environmental, economic, and social values against operational constraints. These challenges pose great opportunities to improve the current practices of airport deicing stormwater management.


airport deicer stormwater guidebook decision tool 


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The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support by the US DOT Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) and the National Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51278390). The authors acknowledge the insightful discussions with Dr. Tyler Linton of Great Lakes Environmental Center, Inc. and Mr. Lyor Dahan of DY Consultants on some of the topics in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xianming Shi
    • 1
  • Stephen M. Quilty
    • 2
  • Thomas Long
    • 3
  • Anand Jayakaran
    • 4
  • Laura Fay
    • 5
  • Gang Xu
    • 1
  1. 1.Smart & Green Infrastructure Group, Department of Civil & Environmental EngineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.SMQ Airport ServicesLutzUSA
  3. 3.Kent State UniversityKentUSA
  4. 4.Washington Stormwater CenterWashington State UniversityPuyallupUSA
  5. 5.Western Transportation InstituteMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA

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