Water Quality / De-Icing

Water Quality / De-Icing

Runoff from the Airport primarily drains via Omand’s Creek and Truro Creek.

Numerous fish species that inhabit the Assiniboine River utilize portions of habitat within its tributaries for some of their annual life cycle. Therefore Omand’s and Truro creeks have the potential to support a large number of fish species.

WAA is committed to reducing the effects of its operations on the quality of water entering these water courses. Protecting stream water quality consists of two discreet components: water quality management and deicing activity management.

Water Quality Program

In order to maintain a sustainable environment and follow goals set in our EMS, WAA has implemented a comprehensive Water Quality Management Program. The program aims to monitor waterways within and surrounding the Airport. Surface water sampling occurs at multiple sampling sites located on and off the Airport property, mainly along Omand’s Creek and Truro Creek. During months where water is not frozen, the creeks are sampled for a variety of parameters including dissolved oxygen, pH, nutrients, glycol, heavy metals, hydrocarbon products, and suspended solids. This enables WAA to monitor the quality of the two creeks, and ensure that the water quality within the creeks remains optimal.

WAA also undertakes groundwater monitoring through out the year. This enables WAA to determine whether contaminants are present within the groundwater system.

Aircraft De-icing/Anti-icing

To ensure the safe operation of aircraft during winter months (generally late fall to early spring), aircraft deicing/anti-icing fluid is utilized to prevent the accumulation of ice on critical aircraft components. De-icing/anti-icing activities are mandated under the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

WAA maintains specialized infrastructure to mitigate any potential impacts from spent aircraft de-icing/anti-icing fluids (de-icing effluent). In 2005, WAA constructed a Central De-icing Facility (CDF) to maximize the recovery of de-icing effluent. The CDF is located mid-airfield and consists of a paved surface equipped with an extensive system of valves, land drainage sewers, catch basins, storage tanks, forcemain and lift station and two retention ponds. De-icing effluent is fully biodegradable through exposure to environmental elements. The retention ponds are used to temporarily store and treat the de-icing effluent. The ponds are equipped with aerators to further enhance the degradation process. Bird deterrent wiring and landscaping are also established to discourage waterfowl from landing, wading or nesting within the ponds.

The sound operation of the CDF and its supporting infrastructure in conjunction with continued water quality monitoring have resulted in significant improvements to the water quality within Truro and Omand’s Creeks.  

WAA, in consultation with the aviation community and Provincial and Federal agencies, is continuing to assess future needs for additional infrastructure and management options in an effort to ensure continued improvement of water quality.