Delorit JD, Racz L. 2014. Evaluation of activated sludge for biodegradation of propylene glycol as an aircraft deicing fluid. Water Environ Res 86(4):366–371.
Aircraft deicing fluid used at airport facilities is often collected for treatment or disposal in order to prevent serious ecological threats to nearby surface waters. This study investigated lab scale degradation of propylene glycol, the active ingredient in a common aircraft deicing fluid, by way of a laboratory-scale sequencing batch reactor containing municipal waste water treatment facility activated sludge performing simultaneous organic carbon oxidation and nitrification. The ability of activated sludge to remove propylene glycol was evaluated by studying the biodegradation and sorption characteristics of propylene glycol in an activated sludge medium. The results indicate sorption may play a role in the fate of propylene glycol in AS, and the heterotrophic bacteria readily degrade this compound. Therefore, a field deployable bioreactor may be appropriate for use in flight line applications.