- American Airlines has partnered with Covanta to find a new use for wastewater created at its Wheel & Brake Center in Tulsa, OK, as reported by Waste Advantage.
- The facility processes more than 25,000 tires per year and uses large amounts of water to rinse grease, hydraulic fluid and brake dust off before recycling them.
- Covanta handles about 800 tons of this wastewater per year at a nearby facility in Tulsa using a "Liquid Direct Injection" process. The water is then vaporized in a combustion chamber and the contaminants are burned off.
Covanta has also helped American makes its Tulsa facility a "zero waste" operation in recent years. This wastewater partnership began in 2014 and American won an award from the nonprofit Sustainable Tulsa in 2015 for its landfill diversion efforts.
The proximity of Covanta's facility has also helped reduce potential emissions and other environmental issues involved with shipping the wastewater to landfills. The steam created from the water also creates electricity which is used at a nearby refinery, helping close the loop for one part of the local waste stream.
Both airplanes and airports pose unique waste challenges which have yet to be solved in many areas. The world's busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, has been working toward the construction of a new resource recovery center and the U.K.'s Gatwick Airport recently announced plans to construct a waste-to-energy facility. While the wastewater from plane tires is only a small part of this equation any amount of diversion is helpful in such a difficult system.