The National Academies

ACRP Synthesis 11-03/Topic S02-16 [Active (Synthesis)]

Airport Community, Water Quality Events, and the Aircraft Drinking Water Rule
[ ACRP 11-03 (Synthesis of Information Related to Airport Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $45,000
Authorization to Begin Work: 11/23/2015 -- estimated
Staff Responsibility: Gail R. Staba
Research Agency: The Cadmus Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Donna Jensen
Effective Date: 5/15/2016
Fiscal Year: 2016

Final Scope

On October 19, 2011, the USEPA Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR) went into effect in the United States. The rule requires, among several other things, airlines to load water at FDA approved watering points, that the water meets USEPA Drinking Water Standards, and that aircraft are tested for Total Coliform and E. coli. FDA approved watering points may be cabinets, carts and trucks that obtain their potable water directly from the airport. There have been instances in which the water supply to the airport from the public water system has been compromised and/or when the airport potable water distribution system has encountered issues. When this occurs, tenants, contractors, and concessionaires at the airport must be notified regarding serving water to the public and airlines cannot load potable water to the aircraft.

The challenges under these conditions are that airports may not be notified by their public water system provider or that some airports may not have systems in place to conduct notifications. Additionally, reporting requirements vary between the public water system and aircraft public water systems. Another example is when a potable water distribution line is impacted, timely notification may not be provided to airport operations and environmental teams. Water quality sampling and analysis creates additional delays in notification. There have been potable water issues at CRW, LAX, MSP, PDX, FLL, HOU, MSY, SJU, TOL, SAT, and BOS, among others, in which the water supply to the airport or at the airport was affected.

Research is needed to document: stakeholders; how airports are organized around drinking water; general practices for public water system notifications; and any established protocols that involve notification in order to minimize impacts to airlines, the traveling public and employees. This synthesis may assist airports in identifying gaps between key stakeholders and process improvements, which may expedite notification and corrective action.

The objective of this research is to compile literature and experience, and to identify gaps in providing notification to the airport community when water quality is affected. The audiences for this synthesis are airport leadership teams, airline tenants, and their contractors.

Through literature and interview, the researcher will compile data and report on existing practices and gaps regarding protocols for when water quality does not meet the USEPA Drinking Water Standards.

The type of information to be compiled by the researcher should include but is not limited to:

• Stakeholder identification; drinking water roles and responsibilities
• General practices for public water system notifications
• Established protocols that involve notification in order to minimize impacts to airlines, the traveling public and employees
• Corrective action practices to protect public health
• Challenges and lessons learned
• Open issues and gaps requiring further research
• Appendices that illustrate tools used by airports and airline tenants, including a list of considerations when developing protocols and SOPs

A strategic priority for ACRP is to assure quality improvement in its research projects. ACRP therefore encourages the principal investigator to participate in a 1-day Symposium on ACRP Research in Progress that will be held during the Transportation Research Board’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC.

Partial information sources:

USEPA, Aircraft Drinking Water Rule (ADWR)
USEPA, Economic and Supporting Analyses for the Final Aircraft Drinking Water Rule
Unpublished Report, Draft Case Studies of Communication Practices among Airports, Air Carriers, and Public Water Systems during Water Quality Events, June 2014.
Food and Drug Administration, Aircraft Water Points and Servicing Areas Inventory website.
Interstate Carrier Conveyance Systems (FDA equipment guidelines)
WHO, Guide to Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation, 2009. (for airports with international carriers)
IATA, International Drinking Water Quality Pool.

Topic Panel
Susan Aha, Port of Portland (OR)
Marianne Csaky, United Airlines
Brenda L. Enos, Massachusetts Port Authority
Robert D. Freeman, Los Angeles World Airports
Andrew F. Matuson, JetBlue Airways
Jaime Pabon, San Juan Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport
Beth Stockert, Southwest Airlines
Linda V. Weiland, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Michael Lamprecht, Federal Aviation Administration
Edna Villanueva, US Environmental Protection Agency

TRB Staff
Gail Staba
Phone: 202/334-2442
Email: gstaba@nas.edu

First Meeting: April 12, 2016, Washington, DC
Teleconference: May 13, 2016, 12:00 p.m., EDT 
Second Meeting: November 15, 2016, Irvine, CA

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