San Diego Airport Reuses Over 800,000 Gallons Of Stormwater In 2022

San Diego International
Credit: Cavan Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of stormwater captured from the top of a parking garage at San Diego International Airport (SAN) was reused in 2022, helping to air condition and heat the airport’s terminals. 

The airport’s stormwater reuse treatment system has been in place since 2018, capturing more than 5 million gal. of stormwater since.

Water is captured from the top of SAN’s Terminal 2 parking garage, stored in underground pipes with capacity to hold around about 100,000 gallons of water and then is “treated through a series of high-rate media filters and ultraviolet light, then pumped to a central utility plant for use in the cooling towers that heat, ventilate and air condition SAN’s terminals and jet bridges,” according to a statement released by the airport.

San Diego International reported Feb. 8 that it captured and reused more than 812,500 gal. of stormwater in 2022.

“Through the capturing and reusing of stormwater, the airport authority can meet strict stormwater pollution prevention regulations by keeping stormwater on-site rather than discharging to San Diego Bay,” San Diego County Regional Airport Authority CEO Kimberly Becker said. “In addition, capturing and reusing supports the airport authority’s sustainability goals to reduce potable water use for non-potable purposes and most importantly to be good environmental stewards.”

According to a “stormwater management plan" posted on the airport’s website, SAN’s stormwater reuse treatment system is part of a wider community effort “to control the stormwater pollutants being generated daily [around the] San Diego Bay watershed.” 

SAN is located on the shore of San Diego Bay. 

The airport says it is expanding the stormwater reuse treatment system, which will “eventually be connected to the Rental Car Center with the recycled water being used to wash cars.”

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.