EPA Releases Deicing Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency's Effluent Limitation Guidelines and New Source Performance Standards for the Airport Deicing Category final rule has been signed by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson:

EPA has issued technology-based effluent limitations guidelines and new source performance standards to control discharges of pollutants from airport deicing operations. The requirements generally apply to wastewater associated with the deicing of airfield pavement at primary airports. The rule also establishes new source performance standards for wastewater discharges associated with aircraft deicing for a subset of new airports.

Existing and new primary airports with 1,000 or more annual jet departures ("non-propeller aircraft") that generate wastewater associated with airfield pavement deicing are to use non-urea-containing deicers, or alternatively, meet a numeric effluent limitation for ammonia.

New airports with 10,000 annual departures located in certain cold climate zones are required to collect 60 percent of aircraft deicing fluid after deicing. Airports that discharge the collected aircraft deicing fluid directly to waters of the U.S. must also meet numeric discharge requirements for chemical oxygen demand. The rule does not establish uniform, national requirements for aircraft deicing discharges at existing airports. Such requirements will continue to be established in general permits, or for individual permits on a site-specific basis.

In other news, the following information was released by the Airports Council International - North America:

Airlines for America (A4A), Airports Council International - North America (ACI-NA), the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) and the Regional Airline Association (RAA) today commended the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for finalizing new aircraft deicing regulations that recognize and build on the industry's strong safety and environmental record while recognizing the unique operations of airlines and airports.

The associations issued the following joint statement:

By recognizing the voluntary pollution-reduction program, the EPA is enabling airports and airlines to design effective environmental-protection strategies for their communities and specific circumstances that put safety first.

The EPA Effluent Limitation Guidelines (ELG) set technology-based standards designed to reduce discharges related to pavement deicing and aircraft deicing at new airports built after the rule goes into effect. The EPA further supported the industry's voluntary pollution-reduction program, heralding its potential to significantly reduce aircraft deicing discharges in a safe manner. As such, the agency further agreed that applying such standards to aircraft deicing at existing airports would be impracticable and deliver few benefits.

For more than 15 years, A4A, ACI-NA, AAAE and RAA worked with EPA in its efforts to develop national ELGs. In response to the rule proposed by EPA in 2009, the associations raised concerns that parts of the rule would not achieve the desired environmental benefits. As an alternative, the associations developed a voluntary pollution-prevention program where airports and airlines will work collectively to implement coordinated, effective and location-specific measures to minimize the impacts from aircraft deicing operations.

Copyright 2012 States News Service

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