Workshop, hearing planned on RIAC deicing system


Rhode Island Airport Corporation plans to spend an estimated $25 million to collect deicing fluid from airplanes will be aired at a workshop April 25 followed by a formal public hearing May 14, the Department of Environmental Management revealed yesterday.

It is estimated the system will collect 60 percent of deicing fluid – propylene glycol – used to ensure that ice does not build up on the fuselage and wings of departing aircraft in freezing rain. The existing system of vacuum trucks collected only 43 percent of the fluid last year.

After years of discussion, the RIAC board entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Environmental Management that outlines the terms of a new Rhode Island Pollution Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES) permit on Dec. 21.

At the time of the agreement, DEM Director Janet Coit said the proposed system meets the needs of T.F. Green Airport, an important transportation hub, while protecting Buckeye Brook and other sensitive aquatic resources.

However, questions remain over why the system will only collect an estimated 60 percent of the glycol used for deicing and how RIAC will fund the project.

RIAC CEO Kevin Dillon doubts the project will qualify for federal funding, meaning it will be paid for entirely from RIAC reserves and operating revenues.

The workshop on April 25 will be held at City Council Chambers at City Hall starting at 6 p.m. People will get an overview of the project and they will have the opportunity to ask questions. That won’t be the case at the May 14 public hearing at 6 p.m. in Room 300 of DEM offices at 235 Promenade St., Providence. People will have the opportunity to make statements, but there won’t be any dialogue. The period for the submission of written comments will close the following day at 4 p.m.


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