"The ACI-NA Environmental Achievement Awards highlight the leadership of North American airports that are setting an example for the industry by going above and beyond to protect the environment while serving their passengers and communities,” said ACI-NA President and CEO Kevin M. Burke. “We applaud these five airports that have undertaken important work to enhance their communities through innovative approaches to sustainability that leads to economic vitality and operational efficiency.
Established by the ACI-NA Environmental Affairs Committee, the annual Environmental Achievement Awards acknowledge the hard work and achievements of ACI-NA members by promoting awareness more broadly within the airport community, the general public and regulators of the many notable and innovative efforts being undertaken by environmental professionals at airports.
ACI-NA annually awards up to four awards recognizing outstanding achievement in the categories of Environmental Management, Environmental Mitigation, Outreach, Education and Community Involvement, and Innovative/Special Projects. The winning airports must demonstrate the environmental benefit of their project and its innovative approach, effective implementation, applicability and cost-effectiveness.
Winners in each category were selected by a four-judge panel. Judges for the 2018 awards were Joe Petrie, Editor in Chief of Airport Business Magazine, Kate Fox Wood, Director of Infrastructure Policy at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, and Jean Wolfers-Lawrence, Environmental Analyst in the Airport Planning & Environmental Division at the Federal Aviation Administration.
The ACI-NA Environmental Committee also selects an individual award winner for outstanding contributions to the Committee and advancing the environmental performance of the airport industry overall. Dean Mericas, an Aviation Environmental Technical Leader at Mead & Hunt, is the recipient of this year’s “Peer Recognition for Outstanding Individual Contribution and Leadership” Award.
Mericas is a leading expert in water quality issues at airports. He has been instrumental in managing the environmental impacts of airport deicing runoff and stormwater, and the negotiation of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for airports. In addition to his deicing and stormwater experience, Mericas has directed comprehensive environmental compliance support programs at large and mid-sized hub airports that included air quality, groundwater, solid waste management and sustainability services. He regularly assists ACI-NA in planning the joint ACI-NA/A4A Deicing and Stormwater Conference, serves as the co-chair of the ACI-NA Water Quality Working Group, and his many contributions to the Environmental Committee include leading the development of the industry Biological Oxygen Demand Capacity Index, which provided a method to accurately and fully reflect the aviation industry’s deployment of pollution reduction technologies related to aircraft deicing activities.
About the Winners
Environmental Management Award Category: Vancouver International Airport is the winner of the Environmental Management Award for their “Waste Management Program at YVR.” As part of the Airport Authority’s 2015-2019 Environmental Management Plan, a strategic goal was identified to divert 50% of total waste at Vancouver International Airport from going to landfill by 2020. The airport supplemented long-standing recycling programs with community engagement initiatives, and installed a centralized food court sorting station. This organic waste recycling program dramatically increased their waste diversion. At the end of 2016, the airport achieved a waste diversion of 51%.
Outreach, Education, and Community Involvement Award Category: The Allegheny County Airport Authority is the winner of Outreach, Education, and Community Involvement Award for the Pittsburgh International Airport “Outside the Fence” Program. The Allegheny County Airport Authority has undertaken a variety of efforts demonstrating to their community that Pittsburgh International Airport has become a leader in sustainability and natural resource management, education and outreach programs. The “Outside the Fence” projects have covered a range of outreach, partnering with the Montour Run Watershed Association to address abandoned mine discharge elimination on airport property.
Special/Innovative Projects Award Category: Los Angeles International Airport is the winner of the Special and Innovative Projects Award for their “Friends of the LAX Dunes” project. The 302-acre Dune site is owned and managed by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) and provides the habitat for over 900 species of plants, animals, and insects, including the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly. As part of their management of the LAX dunes, LAWA has included community members and groups in volunteer programs to help maintain and preserve the Dunes. “Friends of the LAX Dunes” work days are held monthly on the first Saturday of the month, providing a valuable on-going interaction with the community.
San Diego International Airport received Honorable mention in this category for their leadership in developing an airport program partnership for “The Good Traveler Program” carbon offset program. “The Good Traveler Program” is a collaboration between airports and partners to collectively address Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions that provides an easy, affordable, and meaningful way for passengers to balance the environmental impact of their travel by purchasing carbon offsets through a unified brand and program platform.
Mitigation Award Category: Portland International Jetport is the winner of the Mitigation Award for their “Glycol Recycling Program.” This program is the result of a partnership between Portland International Jetport and Inland Technologies to refine environmental management systems with a focus on winter operations and stormwater quality management. In 2009, the Jetport tasked Inland with developing an on-site glycol recycling facility. That began an effort that led to further technology developments and ultimately a contract between Portland International Jetport and Inland Technologies to build a permanent facility to refine and produce a high-grade glycol product. Portland International Jetport is the first airport to de-ice aircraft with 100% recycled de-icing fluid.