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Airport hoping to flush away less water
Hartsfield-Jackson looking at ways to conserve during drought

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 10/29/07

The world's busiest airport will consider everything from faster flushes for its 1,000 or so toilets to recycling water from its giant chillers as it makes plans to weather the current drought.

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• 86 million: Passengers that pass through Hartsfield-Jackson each year
• 78: Public restrooms
• 725: Commodes
• 338: Urinals
• 601: Sinks

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Officials with Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport will meet Wednesday along with representatives of its major airlines to refine water conservation efforts and plan for the possibility of an even drier future.

One of the more creative ideas: Adjust the automatic sensors in Hartsfield-Jackson's public restrooms so they use less water.

"We're trying to set them to the lowest setting without compromising flushing," airport spokesman Herschel Grangent said.

About 86 million passengers a year pass through Hartsfield-Jackson, which has 78 public restrooms with 725 commodes, 338 urinals and 601 sinks.

The airport is one of the state's biggest water users — No. 8 in total usage. The central passenger terminal alone uses an average of 917,000 gallons of water a day, Grangent said.

Kim Vagher, executive director of the Atlanta Airlines Terminal Corporation, said officials have already reduced the amount of water used per flush but are seeking even more reductions. Some of the sensors are so sensitive that "if you hang out in a stall too long you get three of four flushes," he said.

Airport officials also are looking at ways to reclaim and recycle water from the terminal's massive chillers. The chillers are used to reduce humidity and cool the air inside the 5.8 million square foot terminal.

There are no firm numbers yet, but Vagher said there are initial indications the airport could save 8 million to 10 million gallons of water a year by reclaiming water from the chillers.

The airport already has curtailed some water use — it no longer pressure-washes curbs and walkways — but Grangent said officials are looking for additional ways to save water as the drought lingers. Grangent said airport water supplies are in good shape at this point, but officials want to maximize any savings going forward.

Officials might even consider ways to recover runoff from the airport's ramps and runways for reuse.

"If it's still usable, we'll look at ways to recycle it," Grangent said.

Delta Air Lines, Hartsfield-Jackson's largest carrier, has instituted numerous water-saving measures and is looking for more, airline spokesman Kent Landers said.

"We have a whole team of people figuring out what else what we can do," Landers aid. "It's an ongoing conversation."

Landers said Delta, which employs 25,000 people in Georgia, has started a "leak patrol" to search for any water loss at its airport facilities.

"They look for any leaky faucets and valves anywhere at Hartsfield-Jackson that can be fixed or turned off," he said.

The airline is installing meters on the water carts that fill special reservoirs aboard aircraft with potable water used for airliner sinks.

"A lot of airlines have just filled the reservoirs until they run over," Landers said. "Now we're metering the water to make sure they only put on a certain number of gallons."

A Boeing 777 can carry up to 327 gallons. But once the meters are fully installed, that can be reduced to less than 200 gallons, Landers said. A 767-300 can carry up to 160 gallons, but the meters can reduce that to 120 gallons.


By andy

Oct 31, 2007 8:18 PM | Link to this

I don't live in county that receives water from those two northside mud puddles nor do I really care if the counties which they provide water for actually run out.

That said I do hope this so called water emergency, which is a direct result of mismanagement on behalf of government (particularly Mayor Franklin and Governor Perdue), makes those who think socialized/Hillary health care paid for by me and you the tax payer is great idea really reconsiders that position.

If during a drought year the politicians in and around Atlanta can't create a simple forward looking plan to provide drinking water how in the flip do you think these politicians are going to provide the lazy people healthcare?

I've had sales meetings related to SEMA all day here in Vegas and there isn't one person of minimal intelligence that doesn't know about this ignorant and unnecessary water crunch in GA and they are shaking their heads and laughing over this stupidity.

This will be the final nail in ATL corporate relocation coffin.

By Yehudi Zenny

Oct 31, 2007 6:57 PM | Link to this

Just One thing why not like a Third world country Atlanta learns to have a water supply say very 4 hours in morining and 4 hours in the evening .

By Yehudi Zenny

Oct 31, 2007 6:57 PM | Link to this

Just One think why not like a Third world country Atlanta learns to have a watter supply say very 4 hours in morining and 4 hours in the evening .

By Patrick Curry

Oct 31, 2007 6:48 PM | Link to this

Just tell everyone at ATL to "hold it" until they get aboard the aircraft. Then let the airlines deal with the problem of too much airline passenger excretus.

By Max

Oct 31, 2007 3:49 PM | Link to this

Heathrow is 3rd on every list on the internet for yearly passenger travel. I know you would like to claim you are #1 but the facts are not on your side. Heathrow is #1 in International passengers and that's it.

By needth

Oct 31, 2007 3:25 PM | Link to this

response to bufan95

Statistics by BAA

Did you know?

Heathrow handles over 469,000 air transport movements a year, carrying nearly 68 million passengers around the world.

So who is right.......???

By Fear-N-Loathing

Oct 31, 2007 2:46 PM | Link to this

This drought is rubbish. I thought if there was a drought and water levels started dipping, the government agencies responsible for the water know...implement restrictions. I see people watering their lawns in Atlanta, last night on my way home to be exact. Ive never seen a single warning to restrict water, nothing. The drought is horse-turds on a stick. Sonny, maybe you coulda used the 25 million for the boat docks along the Chat. to put that reservoir in up state. Rednecks, ignorant fools, and the unwed baby makers, gotta love Georgia.

By J

Oct 31, 2007 2:41 PM | Link to this

If its Yellow let it Mellow if its Brown flush it down.

By Bill

Oct 31, 2007 2:24 PM | Link to this

What we actually have here is Gov. at work. The Corp. has dumping water out of Lake Lanier all year because a Judge in Fla. has mandated water to come out of the lake to give Alabama enough water to feed a elec. plant that provides for 19,000. famlies and to protect the Mussels in Fla.
Makes a lot of sense to me, give lights to 19,000 and keep some mussels alive that they don't even understand if it's good for them or not and waste the drinking water for 5 mil.
Sounds like the Corp. and the Gov. is just a group of fools following a fool. Typical Gov. at work.

By roswellian

Oct 31, 2007 2:20 PM | Link to this

If they're not concerned about other businesses' usage, how about this?

proclaim all men's bathrooms at Hartsfield to be 'hook-up only' restrooms for all the 'straight' men into that sort of stuff. Visitors then need to use the restrooms at area restaurants and convenience stores, or if simply there to change planes, on the plane or in the next city.

Plus, there's the added benefit of tax revenue generated by 'sex tourism' from folks like Larry Craig. Knowing they won't be arrested surely makes a night or two in town a great vacation.

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