reed bed remediation

Two Airport Sites in UK – Reedbed Rootzone Fungus and Bacteria Remediation of PFAS and Hydrocarbons

reed bed remediationAirports typically have their own fire and rescue service, and often have a training area on site where they can practice various fire fighting scenarios. The water resulting from the training is generally contaminated with partially burnt fuels, and fire fighting foams. The foam is of particular concern, due to the environmental persistence of some of the components, such as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Two successful projects included:

  • Leeds Bradford Airport: Removal of unburned solids, kerosene, PFAS, and BOD.
  • Humberside Airport: Removal of unburned solids, kerosene, PFAS, and BOD.

A combined reed bed and activated carbon (GAC) treatment was designed for treating the fire training waters. Laboratory experiments undertaken in conjunction with Angus Fire, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of fire training foams, proved the effectiveness of a combined reed bed and GAC treatment system. The biological activity in the reed bed degrades hydrocarbons and the biologically active foam components, while the GAC unit entraps any recalcitrant components of the foams. Soil based reed beds have a proven track record for removal of fuels from water streams, and are now used in place of interceptors for some petrol station applications. The versatility of reed beds means they are ideal for dealing with both shock loads of fuels and foam from training sessions, as well as the lower concentration runoff water.

Storm water runoff from runways and areas of hard standing is another application for treatment wetlands and reed beds at airports. Runoff is often contaminated with de-icers, grit, oils, and metals, and discharge to sewer or remediation by conventional means is very expensive. Reed beds and their associated balancing systems offer a cost effective and low maintenance alternative



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