Publisher's Note

Being environmentally conscious seems to be a top priority lately, whether it is the next green product to hit the market or making your operations more lean to cut down operating costs which, in turn, cuts down your carbon footprint.

Recently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that they are proposing a new rule/guideline that would affect discharges from airport and aircraft deicing operations.

According to the EPA, “The requirements generally would apply to wastewater associated with the deicing of aircraft and airfield pavement at primary commercial airports.”

Here are some of the rules/guidelines proposed by the EPA as stated on its Web site:

  • Airports that conduct aircraft deicing operations, have 1,000 or more annual jet departures, and 10,000 or more total annual departures, would be required to collect spent aircraft deicing fluid and treat the wastewater. They may either treat the wastewater on-site or send it to an off-site treatment contractor or publicly owned treatment works.
  • Some airports would be required to reduce the amount of ammonia discharged from urea-based airfield pavement deicers or use more environmentally friendly airfield deicers that do not contain urea.

The EPA says it expects this regulation to reduce pollutant discharges by more than 40 million pounds per year, at an annual cost of about $90 million.
Ultimately, this poses a few questions:

  • How or will this affect deicing ground operations as a whole?
  • If it does, what will we as an industry need to do to effectively and efficiently run our deicing operations?
  • What will we have to change to comply with the new rule?
  • EPA says many of the larger airports are already in compliance with the proposed regulation, so what does this mean for the ground deicing operations at smaller airports?

The proposed deicing effluent guideline is open for public comment. If you would like more information, visit

And, as always, please let me know your thoughts; we are always looking for reader comments. Please e-mail me at