Four Airports Earn Top Environmental Honors

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By Matt Griffin
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Portland International Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport and Buffalo Niagara International Airport were presented their 2010 Environmental Achievement Awards this afternoon at the Chairman’s Awards Luncheon.  The ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards were established in 1997 and has generated immense interest throughout the industry and has catalyzed numerous environmental programs at airports.  Please read below for information on each of the award winning projects.

Environmental Management Award Category:
The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s “Environmental Strategy Plan – A Vision for 2010 and Beyond” earned them the Environmental Management Award. Serving as a roadmap for achieving Seattle-Tacoma’s ecological conception, it provides a framework for annual planning, budgeting and accountability by identifying the measurable environmental outcomes that they would like to achieve by 2014. Since its completion in 2009, the Strategy 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. Seattle-Tacoma feels this plan is a linchpin for the success of its environmental program and can serve as a role model for other airports.

Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award Category:
Portland International Airport won this year’s Outreach, Education and Community Involvement Award with its Airport Futures project. Airport Futures was a collaborative process involving the Port of Portland, the City of Portland and the Portland-Vancouver metropolitan community to create a long-range (through 2035) master plan for Portland International Airport and a city land-use plan governing the airport and its environs. A 3-year process, Airport Futures facilitated a public discussion about sustainable development that resulted in the identification of the community’s vision and values. 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.

Mitigation Award Category:
The Mitigation Award went to Southwest Florida International Airport for their exceptional Wildlife Management Program. The airport utilizes various projects that analyze problematic habitats and species to develop specialized methods of prevention. The formation of a Hazardous Wildlife Working Group in 2005 improved communications between Environmental Compliance, Airport Operations and Airport Maintenance to assist in the implementation of new and innovative deterrence methods. And in March 2008, the airport initiated a Wildlife Hazard Assessment that used a unique methodology that broke down species into hazard guilds, assigning relative risk values to more effectively focus on specific airfield areas that attract the highest risk species

Special/Innovative Projects Award Category:
Buffalo Niagara International Airport is the second airport to win 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, stores it at a low point on the airport property and pumps it to the wetland treatment system. Though the treatment system utilizes natural wetland processes, it actually occurs within aerated gravel beds topped with mulch and plantings. These beds appear simply as a mowed field. The cells, four in all, are each about the size of a football field, 1.5 meters deep and lined with high-density polyethylene material. Here, using a number of unique features, the glycol is broken down in two to three days as it travels through the engineered wetland treatment system.