Research Lancaster / Manchester

Manchester Airport is one of the busiest airports in the UK, serving millions of passengers every year. However, with its busy operations comes the challenge of managing surface water contamination caused by the de-icing chemicals used on its runways.

In collaboration with Lancaster University’s Centre for Global Eco-Innovation and Manchester Airport Group, Peak Associates delivered a PhD project with Andrew Freeman to tackle this issue. The project aimed to develop a sustainable and economic system of control for surface water contamination with de-icing chemicals at Manchester Airport.

The project investigated alternative solutions to address the problem, including large-scale filtration treatment of contaminated surface water from the airfield. This approach aimed to reduce the biochemical oxygen demand in the effluent, which would in turn, minimise the impact on the local sewer system from the airport.

The results of the project were promising, showing a significant reduction in the biochemical oxygen demand in the effluent, which is a key indicator of water pollution. This outcome was achieved through the implementation of a reliable and sustainable means of monitoring surface water contamination, ensuring that the airport remained compliant with environmental regulations.

The results demonstrate the benefits of working in partnership to address complex environmental challenges. The sustainable and economic system of control developed by Peak Associates and Lancaster University’s Centre for Global Eco-Innovation is a practical solution that can be implemented in other airports and industries facing similar issues.

This case study highlights the potential for innovative research and collaboration to deliver sustainable solutions for environmental challenges, benefiting both businesses and the wider business communities.

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