Mayfield Farm

Responsible Heathrow case study

Come rain or shine, 1,288 flights leave Heathrow airport every day. That means that in the cold weather, de-icing fluid is needed to make sure the planes can take off during the winter months. If untreated, this fluid can cause pollution in the local water courses, effecting local wildlife and waterways.

Mayfield Farm is a leading edge innovative reedbed treatment plant was designed and built to treat de-icer coming from the airport, using natural processes to remove around 7 tonnes of organic pollution each year?. The water containing de-icer coming from the airfield is sent to a set of reedbeds where naturally occurring bacteria can break down around 95% of the glycol in the de-icer, leaving clean water that can be sent back into the local watercourses. The facility accelerates this natural process by pumping oxygen directly to the roots of the reeds.

Over the years, larger aircraft and continuously improving procedures have led to an increase in the amount of de-icer we use at Heathrow for both aircraft and the airfield. To combat the effects of this, we implemented new technology that would “turbo charge” the process by blowing more air in the bed and adding more nutrient to help more bacteria grow.

As well as combining the biodiversity benefits of a natural system with the efficiency of a concrete system, Mayfield Farm is much lower inenergy consumption compared to concrete structures, making it cleaner and cheaper to run.

Heathrow’s Sustainable Mobility Zone in partnership with Guardian Sustainable Business