Flushing Away Waste Problems

March 29, 2005
Airport takes advantage of new processing system for airplane waste

About the author: JWC Environmental’s Monster Airport Receiving Station is closed, self-contained, below-grade and automated. It includes the company’s Muffin Monster dual-shafted grinder to handle plastic, textiles, paper and other solids.

Recently, the Kansas City International Airport (KCI) took advantage of a new processing system for airplane lavatory waste that has provided better operating conditions, allowed for addition of new users and supported environmental improvement goals.

The Monster Airport Receiving Station, installed as part of a multi-terminal upgrade project, was designed and manufactured by JWC Environmental.

“Since the airport was built in 1972, each of the three terminals had its own triturator facility, where blue water from aircraft was dumped into an open system—a grate over a hole that led to a grinder and pumping station,” said David G. Long, manager of commercial development for the Kansas City Aviation Department.

“When we started the KCI Terminal Improvement Project in 2000, we decided that the situation was not up to the environmental standards we wanted. Each triturator was located on the apron level, directly below passenger traffic areas. While odor problems were not frequent, they did happen.”

After researching related experience at other airports, the department decided on a third-party developer to construct a single triturator for the three-terminal complex, at a central location away from the terminals and easily accessible to passenger airlines as well as other users. To enhance cost-effectiveness of the investment, other functions were added to the self-contained facility.

“To help assure continued compliance with our Airport Stormwater Plan, we added a washing area for our ground support equipment, to keep cleaning solvents and lubricants off the apron and also put in a trash compactor facility that previously was located at each terminal,” Long said.

A full load

Regarding the new triturator, which started up with the washer and compactor last July, Long noted that “no news is great news” and reported the triturator processed its initial 800- gallon load in less than a minute.

“It works very well—a closed system that keeps you from seeing waste material at any time,” he said. “The old way, you could not only see it, but hear and smell the processing as well.

According to Don Sorensen, president of Aergo Development, Inc., the third-party developer for the project, the JWC technology was selected primarily for its reliability, following a comprehensive review of a range of alternatives. “In opting for JWC, we chose a technology that was a little more heavy-duty than needed for the volume and types of solids and liquids involved, but which provided for the long-lasting reliability that we wanted, as did their reputation, of which we had first-hand experience through our project manager, as well as other references. Their unit has been working smoothly and we haven’t had to call for any service.”

JWC Environmental said its Monster Airport Receiving Station is a closed, self-contained, below-grade, automated station designed to allow for simple, clean and efficient disposal of sewage pumped from airplane lavatories. The station includes a PLC-based controller as standard equipment. An optional MonsterTrack controller provides an electronic billing system, including a plug valve and flow meter to accurately track usage and record sewage flow.

In typical operation, the operator attaches a sewage hose to a quick-connect coupler, designed to help prevent spillage, and allowing wet or dry solids to flow via an inlet pipe into the station’s Muffin Monster dual-shafted grinder, which includes cutters to handle plastic, textiles, paper and other solids. Ground material is then flushed into the local sewer system, with remaining solids greatly reduced as a threat to downstream pump clogging.