Seattle-Tacoma, Portland, Buffalo Niagara and Southwest Florida recognized in airport environmental awards
Sea-Tac Airport staff teaching high school students about stormwater management (photo: Sea-Tac)
Thu 9 Sept 2010 – Seattle-Tacoma International, Portland International, Southwest Florida International and Buffalo Niagara International airports have been selected as winners of this year’s Environmental Achievement Awards by Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA). The awards were established in 1997 and ACI-NA says they have been catalysts for numerous environmental programmes at airports as well as generating considerable interest throughout the industry. ACI-NA President Greg Principato said airports were leading a “green revolution” in aviation by implementing many inventive programmes that reduced the environmental impact of their operations. The 2010 awards will be presented during the ACI-NA Annual Conference on 29 September.
The four award categories cover environmental management; outreach, education and community involvement; mitigation; and special/innovative projects.
The Environmental Management Award went to Seattle-Tacoma International (Sea-Tac) for its ‘Environmental Strategy Plan – A Vision for 2010 and Beyond’ which serves as a roadmap for achieving the airport’s ecological aims. The plan provides a framework for annual planning, budgeting and accountability by identifying the measurable environmental outcomes that it would like to achieve by 2014. According to the airport, the plan has provided the organization with “a new and dramatically improved sense of focus for its environmental actions, and a blueprint for a more sustainable future”, and suggests it can serve as a role model for other airports. Sea-Tac received the Mitigation Award in 2008.
Portland International won the Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award with its ‘Airport Futures’ long-term project. As a result of a collaborative three-year process involving the Port of Portland, the City of Portland and the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan community, a long-range (through to 2035) masterplan for the airport and a city land-use plan governing the airport and its environs was created. “The airport can now effectively integrate sustainability principles to its development plan in a manner that contributes to the long-term economic, environmental and social health of the region,” reports Portland International.
The Mitigation Award went to Southwest Florida International for its Wildlife Management Program under which the airport has implemented various projects that analyze problematic habitats and species to develop specialized methods of prevention. A Hazardous Wildlife Working Group was formed in 2005 to improve communications between Environmental Compliance, Airport Operations and Airport Maintenance to assist in the implementation of new and innovative deterrence methods. In March 2008, the airport initiated a Wildlife Hazard Assessment in which a unique methodology was used to break down species into hazard ‘guilds’, or categories, assigning relative risk values to more effectively focus on specific airfield areas that attract the highest risk species.
Buffalo Niagara International received the Special/Innovative Projects Award for its Wetland Treatment of Glycol Contaminated Stormwater Program. An improved stormwater collection system captures concentrated deicing flows from all airport gates, which are stored at a low point on the airport property and then pumped to the wetland treatment system that utilizes natural wetland processes. Here, using a number of unique features, the glycol is broken down within two or three days as it travels through the system.
Winners in each of the categories were selected by a three-judge panel based on a project’s environmental benefits, innovation, effective implementation, widespread applicability and cost effectiveness.
“ACI-NA has granted the Environmental Achievement Awards to recognize its airport members that lead the industry in protecting and preserving the environment through their progressive initiatives and projects,” said Jessica Steinhilber, Senior Director of Environmental Affairs, ACI-NA.