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Heathrow conservation site balancing reservoir

Airports use a large amount of water and create a significant amount of rainfall runoff which must be managed appropriately before it leaves the airport. This is required to avoid harm to local watercourses and flooding.

As Heathrow's owner, we work to reduce the amount of water needed for airport activities and to supply water from more sustainable sources where possible. 

Managing water 

Use and source water in a sustainable way

  • Reducing demand for water by using water efficient technologies in all new buildings and during refurbishment of older facilities, investigating and repairing leaks and raising awareness of the importance of water efficiency.
  • Using non-potable water where feasible for sanitation, irrigation and other activities instead of using treated mains drinking water.

Control pollution hazards at source

  • Minimising pollution risks and encouraging  airport third party companies to minimise any impacts from their activities.
  • Wherever possible, contain the contamination from winter de-icing activity (airport and aircraft) including recovering used aircraft de-icing fluid where practicable.
  • Respond immediately to incidents and contain any harmful substances as close to the source as possible.

Protect and enhance local water courses

  • Control the flow and quality of water entering local watercourses through extensive pollution control infrastructure.  This includes reservoirs and balancing ponds to store runoff and advanced biological treatment facilities.
  • Investment planned during 2014-2019 to further improve the airport's pollution control infrastructure.
  • Regular monitoring of local water courses to assess the health of the aquatic environment.

For more information on our progress in this area see our Action Plan Summary (449KB PDF)


Sustainability awards

Sustainability BITC pink planters