Airport provides PFAS and coronavirus updates


The airport is taking steps to treat approximately 6,000 gallons of Aqueous Film-Forming Foam (AFFF) that contains per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

According to Tetra Tech engineer Ron Myrick, a large double-walled storage tank that was initially intended to hold de-icing solution for the airport’s impermeable surfaces is being used to store 6,000 gallons of AFFF. Myrick said the airport is looking to treat the solution with a system that is similar to the many home carbon filters that have been installed in private wells that test positive for levels of PFAS above 20 parts per trillion (PPT). After the solution is treated, Myrick said it will be discharged through a stormwater infiltration gallery. “Both of these are already existing, which means a significant savings for the disposal of a compound that is quite hard to get rid of,” Myrick said.

Officials also discussed some possible impacts of the coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, on the airport’s operations. “We need to deal with concerns about what the coronavirus is going to do to the commercial side of operations with airlines,” said commissioner Richard Knabel. “Are they going to maintain the schedules they have set? It seems there is no definite answer to that.” Knabel said many airlines are already cutting back their schedules with the presidential ban of travel to and from Europe.

Commissioner Geoff Wheeler said major airlines such as JetBlue and Delta are looking to cut their capacity up to 20 percent. “Many airlines are parking some of their planes, and are projecting a large revenue drop,” Wheeler said. “Most of it will be international flights, but we anticipate some impact in domestic flights as well.”

Airport director Cindi Martin said she isn’t sure when this period of uncertainty will end, and when the major airlines will “flex up again.” “We are fortunate that most of our operations don’t require that summer bump that we get from commercial carriers, so I think we will be fine financially,” Martin said.

Commissioner Kristin Zern said the outlook is dismal for many airlines, but she said it is possible that the Vineyard will see more traffic, with less people travelling internationally. “The situation with the airlines is dire, and we really don’t know how it’s all going to turn out,” Zern said.



  1. I am a bit miffed that the corona part of this article seems to only be concerned about the financial impact on the airline industry.
    Not a word about what the airport is planning to do with the disembarking passengers. I mean, are they at least going to take the temperatures of people arriving here ? That’s non invasive, practically free, and could pick up some potentially sick passengers. Also, are they going to question them about where they have been ? Given the comments about limiting passengers on the ferries, it is incredible that there is seemingly no plan at all at the airport.
    I hope they at least provide some hand sanitizer. Unless of course, taking even rudimentary steps to help protect the public is too much of a financial strain on the airport’s operational budget.

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