RIDEM and RIAC Reach Agreement

 

In furtherance of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) entered into between the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) in 2009, the parties have reached agreement on the terms of a new RI Pollution Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permit for T.F. Green Airport. A RIPDES permit is required for the stormwater runoff from airport activities discharged to Buckeye Brook and other local waters.  The MOA provided that RIAC would design, construct and operate a passive collection system that would meet the goals set forth in the MOA  The Consent Agreement includes a new permit that was prepared in accordance with the RIPDES Regulations, will be available for public comment and will be the subject of a public hearing.

Kevin Dillon, RIAC President and CEO, said “I want to thank the airlines for their assistance on this important project and RIDEM for working cooperatively with RIAC and the carriers to reach this significant milestone. Admittedly this has been a long process, however, the culmination of these efforts puts T. F. Green Airport at the forefront of similarly sized airports in the Northeast by using a state of the art system to collect and treat storm water. Many airports have no systems in place, while some have taken measures that are not close to those proposed at T. F. Green. We are all committed to this effort and to its successful implementation.”

In the next few weeks, RIDEM will be announcing: a public meeting to explain and answer questions regarding the draft RIPDES permit, the public comment period and date of a public hearing. RIDEM will post the Consent Agreement and draft permit on its webpage for preliminary review. “I am pleased to be announcing that agreement has been reached on the issue of managing stormwater impacted by deicing fluid at T.F.  Green” said RIDEM Director Janet Coit.  “Through the cooperation of the airlines and RIAC we will have a system that meets the needs of the T.F.  Green Airport, an important transportation hub, while protecting Buckeye Brook and other sensitive aquatic resources.”

While design of the system was underway, RIDEM, RIAC and the airlines worked collaboratively in developing the provisions of the Consent Agreement incorporating the terms of a new RIPDES permit. Based on historical data, the system is designed to collect approximately 60% of the deicing fluid applied, which achieves or exceeds average collection efficiencies consistent with deicing pads across the country. Pending completion of the deicing management system, RIAC will continue to collect storm water impacted with propylene glycol in accordance with interim measures approved in the MOA. From 2006 through 2010, RIAC's average collection efficiency was 35%, achieving 43% collection efficiency in 2010.

The deicer management system is designed using existing infrastructure, with some modifications to route non-deicing runoff away from the collection point. Deicer runoff collected from the terminal and cargo areas will be sent to two enclosed storage tanks with odor control systems located near Industrial Drive. From the storage tanks, deicer runoff will be treated at an on-site biological treatment system. The effluent from the treatment system will be discharged to the Warwick Sewer Authority sanitary sewer line on Airport Road.

RIAC submitted 30% design of the system to RIDEM in accordance with the MOA on December 12, 2011. Additionally, 100% design will be submitted to RIDEM on August 13, 2012, per the agreed upon schedule. Primary field construction activities will be completed on April 30, 2014. After a period for start-up and commissioning, the system will be required to operate in compliance with the permit on March 30, 2015. The estimated cost to construct the system is $25m (twenty-five million dollars).

RIDEM will post the Consent Agreement and draft permit on its webpage for preliminary review at: http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/benviron/water/permits/ripdes/pdfs/riacprelim.pdf

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