Heathrow Airport launches next stage of its wetland facility upgrade

Heathrow Airport has awarded environmental engineers ARM Group and wetland consultants Naturally Wallace the contract of upgrading its wetland treatment facility.

Picture by Stephen Bures

Picture by Stephen Bures

The initial works to improve the Mayfield Farm wetland treatment facility, which is used to treat surface-water run-off from the airport, began in October 2010.

The appointment of ARM and Naturally Wallace follows a successful 2009 trial of its forced bed aeration (FBA) technology, a system which forces air through reed beds in order to improve its effectiveness and treatment capabilities. The FBA upgrade is expected to make the Mayfield Farm system 14 times more effective.

Naturally Wallace's president, Scott Wallace, explained that the redesign at Mayfield Farm re-uses the entire existing system of lagoons and reed beds.

He said: "By aerating the lagoons and introducing FBA to the reed beds, the system has become up to 14 times more effective. Additionally, Heathrow will benefit from long-term cost and energy savings."

The two companies will work in partnership to upgrade the lagoons and reed beds at the facility, which are necessary to ensure the local environment is not damaged.

ARM's director, Tori Sellers, said that wetland treatment works are essential for airports like Heathrow as "strong de-icing solutions, such as glycol, acetate or potassium must be used for safety reasons during extreme weather conditions."

Heathrow's environmental operations manager Russell Knight, said the upgrade will benefit the airline community, passengers and the surrounding environment and will help the airport make energy savings.

Knight said: "During extreme weather, de-icer is essential in enabling us to keep the airfield safe and flights moving; however we are also committed to reducing the airport's impact on the local environment."

Carys Matthews


extreme weather


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