DEM Issues Pollution Permit to T.F. Green

By ecoRI News staff

WARWICK, R.I. — The state Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has issued a new Rhode Island Pollution Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permit to the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) for T.F. Green State Airport. The permit goes into effect Sept. 1 and expires Sept. 1, 2017.

The permit addresses stormwater discharges from the airport. Facility discharges flow into Tuscatucket Brook and several small tributaries leading to Warwick Pond and Buckeye Brook. The permit addresses impacts from stormwater, primarily the water quality impacts pertaining to dissolved oxygen, aquatic toxicity, foaming, nuisance odors and nuisance bacteria growths caused by deicing and anti-icing fluids used at T.F. Green.

As part of the permit review process, DEM held a public workshop and a public hearing and extended the public comment period to receive additional comments. The process provided an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft permit and for DEM to consider those comments prior to issuance of the final permit. DEM received a number of comments both in writing and at the public hearing, developed written responses to all significant comments and issued a final permit. Based upon review of the comments received, the final permit includes some clarifying language and modifications to some of the reporting and monitoring requirements.

The conditions in the permit apply to the airport terminal and all airline carriers and establishments at the airport that are engaged in servicing, repairing or maintaining aircraft and ground vehicles, equipment cleaning and maintenance, chemical/fuel storage, and deicing/anti-icing operations.

As required by the permit, stormwater impacted by deicing fluid will be collected and treated onsite prior to discharge to the Warwick Sewer Authority. Based on computer modeling of historical precipitation data and future flight patterns, the system is designed to collect about 60 percent of the deicing fluid applied, which achieves or exceeds average collection efficiencies consistent with deicing pads across the country, according to the DEM.

DEM and the Airport Corporation have entered a consent agreement that requires the new deicier management system that is necessary to comply with this permit begin the collection of glycol contaminated stormwater by Oct. 13, 2014 and be fully operational by March 30, 2015.

The full text of the permit, a fact sheet and responses to all the public comments received on the permit application are available on the DEM website (pdf).