The Environment Agency will make a decision next month on plans to allow drainage of runway waste into Pegwell Bay.
The government body invited residents to view the application made by Infratil, the owners of Manston airport, at a meeting in Ramsgate last week.
Infratil wants to upgrade the existing surface water drainage pipeline. If approved, the airport will install an interceptor tank capable of removing runoff water from the taxiways, aprons and runway before discharging the waste into the sea.
At the meeting, held at the Channel Chamber’s offices in Ramsgate last Thursday, concerns were raised over de-icers, also known as glycols, which cannot be removed using filtration, entering the bay. Marine biologist Ian Humphreyes, who studied the point at which the water would enter Pegwell Bay for the Environment Agency, said:
“I have no worries about that. I have seen nothing to ring alarm bells in my head. The water from Manston is heavily diluted with fresh water from springs.”
Resident Malcolm Kirkaldie is concerned that glycols remove oxygen from water, which could harm animal life. He said:
“It would be nice to see an aeration system, as they have at Gatwick.”
The discharge would pass through an interceptor before entering the sea. Manston airport chief executive Charles Buchanan said:
“The interceptor will make sure that we capture anything, like oil, that can be harmful to the environment. It offers another level of protection and complies with legislation.”
Mr Buchanan explained the new surface water pipeline will cost Infratil several hundred thousand pounds to install. The Environment Agency’s consultation on the plan has been extended until February 28. How does the process work? Interceptor tanks separate oil from water during discharge by working to the principle that oil floats. They are used in schools, car washes and car parks. Waste from Manston airport takes four hours to reach Pegwell.
thisiskent 28th Jan 2011