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Wednesday, January 24, 2018
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Water and Environment - Montpellier Airport

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With 470 hectares, the task for the airport operator is to preserve the natural environment from discharge (groundwater and surface water) and prevent the risks of pollution.

For several years, the airport has been investing in important installations in the areas concerned (car parks, buildings, roads).

Structural devices installed to deal with stormwater runoff

structural devices for stormwater runoff montpellier airport

Structural devices for stormwater runoff © AMM

Airports are characterized by the fact that a tenth of their area is made up of impervious surfaces (parking areas for cars and airplanes, roads, buildings, runways…).

When it rains, the runoff is charged with all the pollutants on the ground (dust, kerosene, tire tracks, oil…). The installations are designed to discharge filtered water into the natural environment to avoid polluting it.

Since 2001, the airport has made sizeable investments in compliance with the order of the Prefect issued on 24 November 2003 in regard to water laws.

sludge oil separation retention ponds montpellier airport

Sludge-oil separation © AMM

The runoff system involves a process of collection, sludge-oil separation, and retention ponds or tanks before discharge into the natural environment. Water from the car parks, aircraft parking areas, traffic lanes, maintenance areas, freight zones and airport terminals is fed into this collection and processing system.

treatment basin for accidental pollution montpellier airport

Treatment basin for accidental pollution   © AMM

Means of protection against pollution

plane victualling montpellier mediterranean airport

Plane victualling © AMM

Pollution accidents such as spills from overfilling aircraft fuel tanks can happen. Therefore all the necessary precautions are taken to prevent chronic and accidental pollution.

These precautions take the form of a number of structural devices (treatment basins for chronic and accidental pollution of maintenance areas, oil separators in the car parks) designed to treat runoff prior to discharge into the natural environment.


The airport site is positioned over a series of superimposed, interconnecting water tables (surface, Villafranchian and Astian) that are separated by clay layers.

The groundwater level is monitored by 2 piezometers positioned in the P2 car park at a depth of roughly 10 meters.

As the groundwater is used to water green spaces, the airport has installed facilities with a measurement system to better control the impact on the use of surface water:

  • Volumetric water meter.
  • Protection of boreholes (closing and sealing).
  • Procedure for accidental spillage.


The airport is supplied, via Vauguières water treatment station, by 80% of water from Bas Rhône Languedoc and 20% from the boreholes at Vauguières.

In 2015, drinking water consumption on the platform was 25 558 m3.


After use, the wastewater is collected by a wastewater network and taken to the Carnon-Pérols wastewater treatment plant for processing.

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