While the Airport Authority’s key environmental priorities are reductions in energy, emissions and waste, minimizing the environmental impact of an airport includes many more elements. The Airport Authority strives for continuous improvement in the following program areas:
Environmental Impact Assessment and Sustainable Building Design
The Airport Authority’s sustainable design guidelines are used to ensure all major facilities on Sea Island incorporate energy efficiency, water efficiency and environmental management into building design. All airport facility permits are subject to an environmental review under the Airport Authority’s environmental assessment program. In 2013, all 151 facility permit applications received were reviewed by the Environment department for environmental issues.
The Airport Authority maintains a Hazardous Materials Management Program to manage the use of hazardous materials at YVR. With more than 1 billion litres of jet fuel passing through YVR each year, effectively preventing and responding to spills is vital. The Airport Authority has robust spill prevention and response plans and 24-hour response capability. We also analyze all spills to determine root causes. No fuel spills of amounts greater than 100 litres occurred in 2013.
As part of our ongoing water quality assessment, the Airport Authority samples airport water to monitor for impacts from construction sites, groundwater cooling system outfall and to ensure the successful containment of de-icing fluid. In 2013, Airport Authority technicians collected 600 water samples, of which 280 were checked specifically for de-icing fluid contamination. Only one sample exceeded the Canadian Glycol Guideline limit of 100 parts per million. While our target for glycol exceedances is zero, the 2013 results still demonstrates effective minimization of airport-related pollutants.
Wildlife Management and Natural Habitat
YVR is committed to the safety of our passengers and employees and to the conservation of the rich diversity of life that relies upon the Fraser delta, in which YVR’s Sea Island Home is located. Our comprehensive wildlife management program is designed to mitigate bird strikes with aircraft, which can put the safety of passengers and planes at risk. Focusing on research and knowledge, habitat management and active control, our constantly-evolving program yielded positive results in 2013.
During 2013, there were 199 bird strikes involving 254 birds. The number of strikes is consistent with the 10-year average, while the number of birds struck was down from the 10-year average by 51 per cent. Using habitat management and active control techniques including wildlife patrols, the use of border collies, trained raptors including a juvenile bald eagle and a trap-and-translocation program for wild raptors, approximately 544,561 individual birds were moved away from aircraft operating areas in 2013. This marks a 23 per cent decrease from the 2012 total. While habitat management and harassment techniques are our primary tools, lethal control is necessary when wildlife behavior is perceived to be a safety risk. This may be an immediate risk to an approaching aircraft or a chronic risk that has reached unacceptable levels. In 2013, a total of 209 birds were killed, a marked decrease from the 2012 total of 564 birds.