The foundation of environmental management at Adelaide Airport is compliance with all relevant regulations and minimising the impact of airport operation on the environment and local population – AAL is committed to effective management and monitoring of noise, local air quality, stormwater, soil and groundwater, and on-airport hazardous substances.

Local Air Quality

Adelaide Airport is situated within a highly urbanised area surrounded by residential, recreational and industrial zones. Air quality in the western Adelaide airshed has been monitored by the South Australian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) for more than a decade at a site in the adjacent suburb of Netley for ambient levels of key pollutants; namely carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ozone (O3), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and particles less than 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10). Data published to-date by the SA EPA shows air quality in the airshed that encompasses Adelaide Airport meets the relevant Environment Protection Act 1993 and National Environment Protection (Ambient Air Quality) Measure 2003 criteria.

AAL, tenants and aircraft operators work together to minimise emissions to air from activities such as aircraft operation, refuelling, painting, cleaning, machining, mechanical maintenance, generator use, commercial cooking and construction. Emissions are managed by AAL through:

  • Environmental management plan development and implementation by tenants and construction companies in accordance with AAL guidelines;
  • Provision of fixed electrical ground power units (GPUs) pre-conditioned air units (PCAs) at Terminal 1 parking stands to reduce engine run time;
  • Emissions treatment systems installed on all spray painting facilities;
  • Development of Spray Painting Guidelines for tenants;
  • Irrigation of runway flight strips during summer to reduce erosion and dust;
  • Commencement of electrification and improved fuel efficiency of AAL’s vehicle fleet; and
  • Air quality modelling and monitoring.


Adelaide Airport is bounded to the north by the Cowandilla-Mile End Drain, to the west by the Airport Drain and to the east and south by Keswick-Brownhill Creek. The Cowandilla-Mile End and Keswick-Brownhill catchments are highly urbanised and all drain into the Patawalonga Lake before entering Gulf St Vincent. An internal drainage network is present and directs the majority of stormwater into the Airport Drain, which similarly discharges to the Patawalonga Lake.

Sources of stormwater pollution at Adelaide Airport are similar to those in urban catchments, namely vehicles, roads, debris from vegetation, sediment, general commercial activities and hazardous substances storages. To mitigate these impacts, interceptors are specified for installation at the discharge point for all new developments. High risk tenants are also regularly inspected to check the suitability of hazardous substance stores and other potentially polluting activities. New aprons may pose an increased risk of impacting quality of stormwater runoff from refuelling and aircraft washing. Spill response and clean-up in accordance with the Airport Emergency Plan is intended to minimise environmental impacts from fuel incidents, and aviation operations are inspected for conformance to AAL’s Aircraft Washing Guidelines.

AAL is committed to improving stormwater quality and consequently the ecological health of the airport’s waterways by supporting aquatic ecosystems, as detailed in the Stormwater Quality Management and Improvement Plan (SQMIP). Implementation of this plan – which includes monitoring and assessment of the ecological health of the open drain network, installation of gross pollutant traps, drain revegetation and adoption of water sensitive urban design principles – will reduce pollutant loads from on-airport activities.

Soil and Groundwater

Historic and recent contamination is present at Adelaide Airport and AAL is committed to an ongoing role in managing these site and minimise risk to human health and the environment.

AAL continues to manage soil and groundwater at Adelaide Airport through the Contaminated Site Management Plan and associated auditing and monitoring programs. AAL’s Building Approval process provides additional support to the management of contaminated land at Airport with the requirement for environmental site assessments to be undertake prior to development or upon a change in leasing arrangements.

Per-and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) and their derivatives are man-made chemicals and have been used in a wide range of industrial processes and consumer products, including metal plating, manufacture of non-stick cookware, textile and carpet treatment, fast food packaging and in some types of fire-fighting foams, including those historically used at Australian airports by Airservices Australia.

The use of this foam was discontinued in 2010, and the risk of being exposed to PFAS by airport staff or public visiting any areas within Adelaide Airport is negligible.

Food Standards of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) current health advice, issued in 2017 is that there is no consistent evidence that exposure to PFAS causes adverse health effects in humans.

While Airservices Australia is responsible for the monitoring and remediation of any PFAS contaminated soil, groundwater or stormwater, Adelaide Airport will continue to monitor this issue and work with Airservices and the Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development (DIRD) to ensure that any contamination and subsequent remediation on airport is managed appropriately.

Hazardous Substances

Hazardous substances, primarily aviation fuels and oils, are used across the airport on a daily basis and have the potential to cause significant environmental and health impacts if they are not appropriately stored and managed.

Any hazardous substances stores and tanks, and associated spill response equipment, are regularly inspected for compliance with relevant standards.

AAL staff and airport operators receive spill response training, and spill response equipment is kept in designated airside and landside locations. The Airport Emergency Plan includes a response framework for large spill incidents.

Asbestos-containing materials are recorded, inspected and managed in accordance with State regulations and AAL’s Asbestos Management Plan. An Asbestos Register is held for all AAL-owned buildings and selected materials are removed on a risk basis. Any demolition works consider the Asbestos Register, and removal is required by qualified contractors in compliance with regulatory standards.