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Effluent Guidelines

Airport Deicing Effluent Guidelines

Deicing of aircraft at O'Hare AirportEPA promulgated the Airport Deicing Effluent Guidelines in 2012 (40 CFR Part 449). The requirements generally apply to wastewater associated with the deicing of airfield pavement at commercial airports. The rule also established New Source Performance Standards for wastewater discharges associated with aircraft deicing for a subset of new airports. These requirements are incorporated into NPDES permits.
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires airlines and airports that operate during icy conditions to perform deicing and anti-icing of aircraft and airfield pavement. This ensures the safety of passengers and cargo operations. However, when performed without discharge controls in place, these deicing operations can degrade nearby water bodies.

Airports are required to obtain stormwater discharge permits under the NPDES program and ensure that wastes from deicing operations are properly collected and treated.

Facilities Covered

The Effluent Guidelines require existing and new primary airportsHelpPrimary airportA primary airport is a commercial service airport with more than 10,000 passenger boardings each year (49 U.S.C. 47102). with 1,000 or more annual jet departures that discharge wastewater associated with airfield pavement deicing to use non-urea-containing deicers, or alternatively, meet a numeric effluent limitation for ammonia.

New airports with 10,000 annual departures located in certain cold climate zones are required to collect 60 percent of aircraft deicing fluid after deicing. Airports that discharge the collected aircraft deicing fluid directly to waters of the U.S. must also meet numeric discharge requirements for chemical oxygen demand.

The Effluent Guidelines do not establish requirements for aircraft deicing discharges at existing airports. Such requirements will continue to be established in general permitsHelpgeneral permitAn NPDES general permit is written to cover multiple dischargers with similar operations and types of discharges., or for individual permits on a site-specific basis.

  • Support documents, including:
    • Fact Sheet
    • Technical Development Document
      Industry description, wastewater characterization, treatment technologies, pollution prevention techniques, regulatory compliance cost estimates and pollutant loadings for the final rule
    • Economic Analysis
      Analysis of the costs and economic impacts of the final rule
    • Environmental Impact and Benefit Assessment
      Evaluates environmental concerns and potential exposures (wildlife and humans) to pollutants commonly found in industry wastewater discharges and estimates the environmental improvements associated with the final rule
Documents related to this rulemaking can be found at EPA’s on-line docket website at The docket number is EPA-HQ-OW-2004-0038.

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Related Information

Background Documents

Additional Information

For additional information, please contact Doruntine Rexhepi ( or 202-566-2532.

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