The Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, the main gateway in Ecuador and South America’s leading airport in 2019, includes a reservoir as a part of their infrastructure to control the runoff generated by rainwater with the capacity to retain heavy storms. The reservoir plays an important role for the airport’s operations, but it presented issues with excessive algal growth, resulting in a PH levels increase (>7) as well as organic matter levels. This food source made it attractive for the wildlife found in the ecosystem adjacent to the airport, which represented a risk to the aerodrome's operational security due to possible impact between the wildlife and the aircrafts. Initially, to maintain partial and temporary control of algal blooms, the reservoir was dosed with chemicals.
Chemicals were not a sustainable solution In 2015, a study of options for algae control considered the MPC-Buoy system as the best choice because it provided a long-term solution and a low environmental impact since unlike chemicals it does not generate hazardous waste or health risks for operators. It also proved to be a cost-effective solution, as algae adapts to chemicals leading to the need of incremental dosage. Since the installation of the ultrasound equipment in early 2017, the use of chemicals has been significantly reduced, which also reduced the manpower and hours of work required to control the algae. The use of this system also allowed to keep a real-time record of the water quality parameters, observing a reduction of 88.36% in the total solids and therefore also the turbidity of the water body, additionally a significant reduction in algae on the surface in sample analysis.
“Regular monitoring of the rainwater reservoir shows a positive impact of the MPC-Buoy system on algae control and improvement in water quality," said Alejandro Vinueza environmental technical analyst, Mariscal Sucre International Airport.