Have you ever thought about where rainwater travels? Are you aware that water from a rainstorm can pick up contamination from rooftops, roads and trash, and these contaminants may enter our water system? The John Wayne Airport (JWA) Green Team frequently reviews practices and management methods with the goal of reducing the Airport’s environmental footprint, including impacts to local receiving waters. One aspect of preparation for the Southern California rainy season is planning a JWA strategy that addresses the reduction of pollutants in stormwater runoff.
What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff is rainwater that doesn’t soak into the ground. As water from rainfall flows across rooftops, roads and parking lots, it picks up contaminants that pollute our water sources. Oil, hazardous chemicals, grease and trash are just some examples of the contaminants that can be mobilized by stormwater.
How is Stormwater Runoff Handled at JWA?
JWA has implemented a comprehensive set of best management practices (BMPs) that align with the Airport’s philosophy to comply with stormwater permits and reduce pollutants typically found in stormwater runoff. They include:
- Four large-capacity treatment devices located at the four corners of the airfield with the purpose of capturing oil, sediment and water;
- Stormwater treatment devices are used to reduce pollutant runoff from several parking lots;
- Foreign Object Debris removal reduces the amount of trash entering the receiving waters;
- Landscape management to minimize erosion;
- Prohibition against heavy maintenance of aircraft and vehicles outdoors;
- Use of dry wash methods for aircraft;
- Use of secondary containment devices, spill cleanup and hazardous waste management;
- Stormwater pollution prevention training and specialized training for Airport staff and tenants working on the airfield or parking lots; and
- Daily inspections of work areas and operations.
Taking it a Step Further
A water quality diversion project is being constructed within the Santa Ana Delhi Channel with supporting equipment on JWA’s property. This multi-jurisdictional project has received funding from the cities of Santa Ana, Newport Beach and Costa Mesa, and the County of Orange. The project will divert dry weather flows and some of the first flush and low flows associated with storm events to the sanitary sewer system to address water quality issues. The first flush typically contains the most concentrated levels of pollutants. The project was designed to remove pollutant loads including metals, bacteria, sediment, toxics, trash and debris from entering the Upper Newport Bay.
The John Wayne Airport Green Team is dedicated to balancing the safety and needs of the traveling community with being good stewards of the environment.