Behind the scenes at GTAA’s Environmental Management System
On a recent plant tour, PEM had a firsthand glimpse of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority’s underground Environmental Management System. The GTAA manages, operates and maintains Toronto Pearson Airport International Airport.
The facility opened in 2002 and cost over $30 million to build, says Derek Gray, Director of Environmental Services, GTAA, who led the tour arranged by the Ontario Chapter of PEMAC (Plant Engineering and Maintenance Association of Canada).
The system is certified ISO 14001 and is designed to oversee Toronto Pearson International Airport’s airport and airline operations, including storm water management, air quality, environmental assessment and compliance, as well as emergency response and climate change systems.
The underground facility has built-in filtering chambers and screens to remove jet fuel and glycol (de-icing chemical) from water, which is tested before discharging into Lake Ontario.
A fascinating fact, says PEM’s associate publisher, Leesa Nacht, is that the underground chambers – where runoff water enters the complex before being filtered – have a capacity of 42 million litres. (The average swimming pool holds 66,000 litres.)
Maintenance is done once a year, when the facility is shut down for two to three weeks, when holding tanks are drained and cleaned, says Gray.