Meadow in front of Terminal 1
Meadow in front of Terminal 1

Soil and surface
water protection

Water is a valuable commodity, and there is only a limited quantity on this earth. One of the declared objectives of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH is to work to reduce the amount of water we use and to avoid harmful impacts on the soil, groundwater and the local watercourses around the airport.

At Berlin Brandenburg Airport we have installed technical systems in which water-polluting substances are stored and/or used. These include refuelling stations, operating fluid stores and elevator systems. At the new airport most aircraft will be refuelled via underground pipes. To protect the soil and groundwater, these installations will be regularly inspected by experts.

Waßmannsdorf sewage plant
Waßmannsdorf sewage plant

Waste water treatment

The airport operator has installed a waste water network with numerous pumping stations and pretreatment tanks. All buildings at the airport, including the terminal, are linked to this sewage network, which has separate pipe networks for waste water and rainwater runoff. Waste water is treated in the Waßmannsdorf waste water treatment plant operated by the Berlin water authority.

The composition of the sanitary water from the terminal and the office buildings, and the waste water from the aircraft toilets, is identical to that of household waste water and is discharged straight into the to the local sewage system. Waste water from restaurants and catering services is pre-treated in grease removal tanks. Waste water from operational areas, such as aircraft maintenance, the special equipment workshop or aircraft cleaning, is intensively pre-treated as required before being discharged with the remaining waste water streams to the Waßmannsdorf treatment plant.

Treating rainwater runoff

To collect and treat rainwater, the new airport has an extensive sewerage system as well as numerous pumping stations, reservoirs and treatment plants. Due to its varying qualities and degrees of contamination, all rainfall at the airport is collected, treated and discharged separately.

Rainwater runoff from roofs and parking areas is not contaminated with pollutants and is allowed to drain into the ground where it accumulates. Rainwater from the runways and taxiways around the apron, which in cold temperatures is potentially contaminated with de-icing fluid, is pre-treated in a ground filter in the winter. In the summer, this rainfall is usually discharged into a channel without pre-treatment or allowed to drain into the ground.

Rainwater from the apron where aircraft are refuelled and de-iced can contain kerosene and de-icing fluid in the winter. This water is first pre-treated in volatile liquid separators. It is then filtered through a ground filter which is used both for intermediate storage and purification of the rainwater. The cleaning performance is automatically monitored.

If the contamination limits are not exceeded then the rainwater is discharged into local water channels. If the effluent limits of the ground filter are exceeded then the water is discharged for further treatment at the Waßmannsdorf treatment plant.