Büdelsdorf, Germany-headquartered ACO Group is a specialist in drainage, and has helped many airports around the world to improve their collection and removal of waste water – as well as the treatment and recycling of that water. Brunhild Schmidtke, a project engineer at ACO and one of those who represent the company on its stand at inter airport in October, plus Heino Messerschmidt, who works in the company’s Competence Center External Drainage, tell Airside about how this area of the aviation business is changing, and what in particular ACO will be wanting to talk about in Munich
ACO offers gateways customised solutions for surface water management airside (on runways, taxiways and right across the ramp, as well as maintenance sheds), landside (in car parks and terminal drop-off sites, terminal approaches and so on) and both on and within terminals (for roof drainage and for catering facilities, toilets and VIP shower areas, for example). While it is best known for its surface water collection and drainage systems, its solutions actually cover collection, drainage, storage, treatment and the return of the clean water to the ground water system.
What will ACO be looking to discuss with visitors at the forthcoming inter airport show in Munich?
Messerschmidt: We are very much looking forward to presenting our offering at the next inter airport. Our presentation will be around all questions relating to on-airport surface water management:
• How should we approach surface water management?
• How can the right water quality be measured and achieved?
• How can airports reduce surface run-off to a natural level?
• How can airports control the discharge to a required level?
We will also introduce news about our range of manhole covers for airport applications at the event.
Moreover, ACO will be a speaker during the Airport Seminar entitled ‘Water Management at Airports’ taking place during inter airport. Alexander Erhardt of ACO is to speak on the subject ‘Handling of Harmful Liquids on Airports’.
What major airport drainage projects has ACO been involved with of late?
• Line drainage at both Moscow airports [at Moscow Domodedovo, between 2007 and 2013, ACO built two drainage channels of 12km and 600m, and it is currently involved in a project that will run from 2017 to 2019 to build a 14km drainage channel; at Moscow Sheremetyevo ACO delivered a 1,100m drainage channel in 2009]
• Line drainage at Luxemburg Airport
• A huge separator installation at Frankfurt Airport
How is technology changing in this business? Is it difficult to stay on top of these changes?
Messerschmidt: There is becoming more and more sensitivity in relation to the environment, and ground water protection and structural protection are increasingly important: our latest development, ‘Sealin’ technology, caters to this demand. [ACO offers a unique combination of polymer concrete material on the one hand and innovative sealing technology on the other to create what it describes as “the very first completely tight channel run”]. We are in the process of equipping all our channel systems with Sealin technology.
Climate change with heavy rainfall is requiring large drainage capacities and attenuation, all of which is becoming increasingly important.
Have you got any plans for future improvements in your product?
Messerschmidt: We will increase our development activities in the area of water quality: new light liquid separators and new filter technology are areas of interest we are pursuing.
Moreover, based on our knowledge and expertise, we are finding innovative ways of using the products in our system chain [ACO’s ‘system chain’ represents ‘drainage solutions for tomorrow’s environmental conditions’, and every ACO product within the system chain controls water as it passes along the chain such that it can be ecologically and economically reused in a viable way]. Through innovation, we help to create truly integrated surface water management solutions.
Is the growing pressure on the aviation industry to be as environmentally friendly as possible a big factor for you and for this market? How does it influence you and your customers?
Schmidtke: The right treatment of surface water is becoming more and more important. By an intelligent combination of our products, we support investors and planners in fulfilling their waste water-related needs, according to the appropriate local legal, technical and environmental requirements.