Aberdeen Airport Holding Pond Lets Go of Smell

The holding pond at the airport is raising less stink - literally - than it did last year.

Airport Manager Dave Osborn said the water in the pond, which gets the runoff from the alcohol-based de-icing agent used by Mesaba Airlines in the winter to keep planes ice-free, has a higher oxygen content than it did last year when there were complaints about its smell.

When the pond began to thaw last month, there was a slight smell, but that has since improved. The windmill unit, which the city began renting last year to help aerate the water, seems to be working. Crews have also starting pumping out the glycol-alcohol that would normally go into the pond, and spraying it elsewhere, where it won't be bothersome.

"That stuff does a number when it's mixed with water," Osborn said. "Once it hits, it sucks all the oxygen out."

Osborn said current oxygen levels are showing that there's five times the amount of oxygen in the water than there was all of last year.

"We're on the right track," he said.

In other action Thursday:

The airport board heard an update from Osborn about the plaque that will recognize any person or business that gave money for the war memorial. Osborn said someone has started working on it, and the $225 project should be done around mid-April.

Osborn updated the board about Mesaba's contract with the airport, which will be up on July 31. Osborn said the two groups are working on having everything done by that date.

The board learned the airport has recently passed the flight inspection done by the Federal Aviation Administration. A FAA inspector will be in Aberdeen on April 17 for the airport's yearly certification process.

Osborn reported that board member Chuck Benson has been working with a group who is concerned about the appearance of the front entrance to the airport. The group would be willing to plant flowers and take care of the grounds. More information is expected at next month's meeting.

The board approved changing the type of insulation that will go into the new snow removal equipment building once it's built from R-19 to R-28. The change will cost the city 3 percent of the total cost, which will end up being $187. Federal airport improvement dollars will pay for the rest.

The board heard from Terry Helms of Helms & Associates about looking into the option of using geothermal energy to heat and cool the new snow removal equipment building, as well as the possibility of converting the terminal to geothermal energy. Helms said as long as the FAA is willing to pay for the majority of a $10,000 to $12,000 study that would look into whether geothermal energy would be feasible, it wouldn't hurt to look into it. "I think it's worth the investment," Helms said. The board approved looking into the idea as long as the FAA is willing to pick up 97 percent of the cost.

Osborn reported that a sealed box was found in the cornerstone of the old terminal when Dahme's Construction was demolishing the building. The box will be opened at a later date.

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