Water and Waste
By 2005, south-east Queensland was facing its worst drought in 100 years. Potable water supplies in the region were at an all-time low, forcing government, businesses and the community to implement stringent water savings initiatives. At the time, Brisbane Airport was one of the largest water consumers in Brisbane.
Brisbane Airport embarked on a challenging path to reduce overall water consumption; this resulted in a reduction in potable water use from 1,600 ML in 2003 to 50 0ML in 2008. Initiatives included:
- The installation of water efficient fixtures and fittings in new and existing buildings
- Installation of automatic stormwater sampling
- The rollout of smart metering to detect abnormal water consumption
- The installation of a series of water tanks to capture rainwater for use in irrigation.
However, since 2008 a number of large airport expansion projects including apron expansions, new taxiways and the new parallel runway have increased the airport water consumption. In response to this increased demand, Brisbane Airport has increased the use of alternative water sources such as stormwater captured in the freshwater lakes, rainwater harvested from roof spaces and stored in tanks, and Class ‘A’ recycled water supplied by Queensland Urban Utilities (QUU). Wastewater from the Brisbane Airport is treated at the nearby Queensland Urban Utilities wastewater treatment site at Luggage Point.
As of 2015 recycled and surface water make up 40% of the total annual water consumption.
BAC is working closely with airport operators and tenants to reduce, reuse and recycle as much Brisbane Airport waste as possible. Currently recycled materials include cardboard, paper, plastic, scrap metal, glass, and food waste. As of 2015, 35% of Brisbane Airport waste is recycled or incinerated; BAC aims to recycle 50% of waste by 2035.
The management of waste at Brisbane Airport is based on a breakdown by operational control. Brisbane Airport Corporation:
- Controls the management of waste that is generated through our own activities under our waste contracts
- Controls the management of waste that is generated by third parties including tenants and passengers in common user areas administered under our waste contracts
- Influences the management of waste generated by third parties such as contractors and independent operators based on airport land who have their own waste contracts