Resource management

Responsible handling of waste, water and de-icing

Munich Airport's strategy for using natural resources is based on taking care of and being economical with these, and also showing a sense of responsibility toward future generations. The issues of waste and water management and the preparation of de-icers are particularly important.

Waste: high recycling rates

  • Flughafen München GmbH meets every single requirement in the five-stage target hierarchy under the German Waste Management and Product Recycling Act. Any waste and scrap products from the operation of the airport – across the board – are collected where they are generated within various separating systems, handed over to certified specialist businesses close to the airport, prepared in sorting plants, and then recycled.
  • A custom-designed disposal concept is essential for sustainable resource conservation.

Paper consumption

Munich Airport constantly reduces its paper consumption

Rain water management

The precipitation runoff from buildings, roads, flight operation areas and other developed surfaces that collects over large areas or in drainage channels is permitted to soak into the ground onsite, preferably using soakage facilities near the surface such as pits or trenches. The precipitation water is filtered and purified through the soaking process, ensuring protection of groundwater.  

Water protection in the runway area (soil filtration systems)

During aircraft deicing operations, wind can blow some of the deicing fluids onto the grassy areas adjacent to the paved flight operation surfaces. Ground filters around the runway heads prevent it from entering the ground water. At present, the filters around the north-east and north-west runway heads are complete. Further construction work is planned.

A ground filter consists of sealed underground storage chambers filled with gravel. It cleans the precipitation water that may be contaminated with spilled aircraft deicing products and also serves as a reservoir.


Recycling of deicing agents

Munich Airport remains the only airport in the world that recycles and reuses its deicing fluids onsite. The quantity of deicing agents used ranges from 2,000 tons in a mild winter to 8,000 tons when conditions are especially harsh.

With the recycling process, the airport has been able to reduce the quota of new deicing products consumed to well below 50 percent. The actual quota varies according to the severity of the winter. On occasion, the recycling quota is far above 50 percent. The recycling operations also reduce the waste water resulting from aircraft deicing. The recycled portion no longer has to be purified in the Eitting treatment plant of the "Erdinger Moos" municipal wastewater management cooperative. Instead it can be reused as new deicing fluid.

An aircraft is de-iced by the "Polar Bear" (deicing machine)

Flood control

The streams and trenches along the Airport perimeter fence guidefloodwater from stretches of water to the south around the Airport andfeeds it back to existing stretches of water in the north, ensuring that the naturally existing discharge is unchanged. The Airport's own drainage system is designed to retain and treat precipitation runoff in the sewer and tanks before feeding it into inshore waters.

These measures guarantee that neither backwater nor increased discharge peaks during flooding affect land to the south and north of the Airport and that the Airport itself is also protected from floodwater.

  • The flood control measures in the design and operation of the facilities proved their worth when the waters rose in 2013. Over the years, ecologically flexible and therefore easy-to-maintain biotopes have emerged. They are an indispensable component of the ecosystem for many animal and plant species, some of which are under threat.
  • For example, a winding ditch has formed with shallows and deep pools, fast-flowing areas and quiet shoals, complemented with high-lying sandbars and gravel beds with low-nutrient grasses along the banks.

Wastewater disposal

Wastewater disposal concept: various wastewater sources, their treatment, and disposal

The state-of-the-art Eitting wastewater treatment plant achieves 98 percent efficiency in purifying the domestic and commercial wastewater from the airport. It also treats the small quantities of precipitation collected in the central area and the wastewater produced through winter de-icing operations.

Economical handling of drinking water

Use of groundwater and rainwater

When it comes to resource conservation, FMG believes in the importance of handling drinking water on the airport campus as carefully and economically as possible.

For example, quaternary groundwater close to the surface (process water) is used for cooling power centers instead of precious tertiary groundwater (drinking water). The process water comes from wells created by the airport.

Additional saving methods

Water-saving fittings are used in terminals to reduce drinking
water consumption. The water used in carwashes is reused
several times after treatment. Operation of the fire training
facility predominantly uses rainwater that has been collected
from paved areas at the training facility and then stored for
extinguishing fires. Above all, quarternary groundwater near
the surface from own wells is increasingly used to clean
roads and air operations surfaces, to dampen building site
equipment and for air conditioning in buildings, instead of
using tertiary groundwater from deeper groundwater levels.

Use of process water for air conditioning

In the past, high-quality drinking water from Moosrain water utility company was used to cool the power station. Since 2010, instead of valuable drinking water, groundwater close to the surface is now used for cooling purposes.