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Keeping air travel safe in icy conditions

Denver International Airport can deice a plane in less than 16 minutes. Then it's time to dispose of the chemicals.


In recent years, Denver International Airport has received more than 54 inches of snow each winter. Deicing aircraft wings and rear tail components is essential for safe travel.

The Denver International Airport uses five centralized deice pads, with a total of 27 deicing spaces, to deice planes using propylene glycol mixed with water and additives. Thanks to its advanced deicing management system, the overall average time to deice a plane is less than 16 minutes, with an average queue time of 5-7 minutes.

In the 2016-2017 snow season, the airport applied 192,035 gallons of airside deicing chemical, plus 72,631 gallons of pavement deicing chemical. Used chemical drains into ponds and tanks, and about 70% is recycled into windshield washer fluid and other products.


Using comprehensive modeling, we analyzed the ability of the airport’s deicing and industrial wastewater system to store, recycle, and process wastewater. We provided all services needed to develop hydraulic models, run numerous routing scenarios, and document the findings.


Our work will help ensure that Denver International Airport’s cutting-edge deicing system is not constrained by limited storage or processing capacity.

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