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Nonylphenol ethoxylates and other additives in aircraft deicers, antiicers, and waters receiving airport runoff

April 27, 2015

Samples of nine different formulations of aircraft deicer and antiicer fluids (ADAF) were screened for the presence of selected surfactants. Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPnEO) were identified in three ADAF formulations, octylphenol ethoxylates were identified in two formulations, and six formulations contained alcohol ethoxylates. A preliminary field study was conducted at General Mitchell International Airport, Milwaukee, WI, to quantify NPnEO (n = 1-15) and one of its byproducts, nonylphenol (NP), in airport runoff. Samples were collected from two airport outfalls, from the receiving stream, and from an upstream reference site during intensive ADAF application events. NPnEO was measured at concentrations up to 1190microg/L in airport outfall samples, up to 77 ug/L in samples from the receiving stream and less than 5.0 microg/L from the upstream reference. Concentrations of glycol and other ADAF-related constituents, including NPnEO, were reduced by approximately 1 order of magnitude between the outfall sites and the receiving stream site; however, concentrations of NP in the receiving stream remained similar to those from the outfalls (< 0.04 microg/L at the upstream reference, 0.98 and 7.67 microg/L at outfalls, and 3.89 microg/L in the receiving stream). The field data suggest that NP is generated through degradation of NPnEO from airport runoff.