Concentrations of airfield-pavement deicer materials (PDM) in a study of airport runoff often exceeded levels of concern regarding aquatic toxicity. Toxicity tests on Vibrio fischeri, Pimephales promelas, Ceriodaphnia dubia, and Pseudokirchneriella subcapitata (commonly known as Selenastrum capricornutum) were performed with potassium acetate (K-Ac) PDM, sodium formate (Na-For) PDM, and with freezing- point depressants (K-Ac and Na-For). Results indicate that toxicity in PDM is driven by the freezing-point depressants in all tests except the Vibrio fisheri test for Na-For PDM which is influenced by an additive. Acute toxicity end points for different organisms ranged from 298 to 6560 mg/L (as acetate) for K-Ac PDM and from 1780 to 4130 mg/L (as formate) for Na- For PDM. Chronic toxicity end points ranged from 19.9 to 336 mg/L (as acetate) for K-Ac PDM and from 584 to 1670 mg/L (as formate) for Na-For PDM. Sample results from outfalls at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wl (GMIA) indicated that 40% of samples had concentrations greater than the aquatic-life benchmark for K-Ac PDM. K-Ac has replaced urea during the 1990s as the most widely used PDM at GMIA and in the United States. Results of ammonia samples from airport outfalls during periods when urea-based PDM was used at GMIA indicated that41% of samples had concentrations exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) 1 -h water-quality criterion. The USEPA 1-h water-quality criterion for chloride was exceeded in 68% of samples collected in the receiving stream, a result of road-salt runoff from urban influence near the airport. Results demonstrate that PDM must be considered to comprehensively evaluate the impact of chemical deicers on aquatic toxicity in water containing airport runoff. ?? 2009 American Chemical Society.
Additional publication details
Aquatic toxicity of airfield-pavement deicer materials and implications for airport runoff