Public Release: 

Gerald R. Ford Airport wins 2018 Speas Award for stormwater treatment system

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics


IMAGE: Gerald R. Ford Airport wins 2018 Speas award for its innovative stormwater treatment system. view more 

Credit: Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) congratulates the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority as the 2018 winner of the Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award for its innovative and sustainable stormwater and deicing treatment system.

The Speas award is cosponsored by AIAA, the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE), and the Airport Consultants Council (ACC) and will be given on March 1 at the ACC/AAAE Airport Planning, Design & Construction Symposium in Denver. Casey Reis, P. E., Director, Engineering and Facilities, and Roy Hawkins, Planning Engineer, Grand Rapids, Mich., will accept the award on behalf of the airport.

The award recognizes the airport's development of a $20 million stormwater/glycol treatment system, which is a national example of how airports can address community needs while meeting operational and regulatory requirements. Residual amounts of aircraft deicers were flowing from the Gerald R. Ford Airport located in the Grand Rapids, Mich., area into a tributary, locally known as "Trout Creek." The deicer chemical was food to biofilm, a thin, sticky film of bacteria, which flourished and impacted the stream's ecology.

The smelly "nuisance biofilm" caused friction between the airport, its neighbors, community watershed groups, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), which in 2010 required the airport to eliminate its contribution to the biofilm growth by September 2015. The Gerald R. Ford International Airport's new treatment system went to work in October 2015, and Trout Creek is now nuisance biofilm free.

The AIAA/AAAE/ACC Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award honors an individual, or individuals, whose contributions have most significantly in recent years to the enhancement of relationships between airports and/or heliports and other surrounding environments via exemplary innovation that might be replicated elsewhere.


For more information on the Jay Hollingsworth Speas Airport Award, please visit For more information on the AIAA Honors and Awards Program, please contact Patricia Carr at 703.264.7523 or

About AIAA

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is nearly 30,000 engineers and scientists, and 98 corporate members, from 85 countries who are dedicated to advancing the global aerospace profession. The world's largest aerospace technical society, the Institute convenes five yearly forums; publishes books, technical journals, and Aerospace America; hosts a collection of 160,000 technical papers; develops and maintains standards; honors and celebrates achievement; and advocates on policy issues. AIAA serves aerospace professionals around the world--who are shaping the future of aerospace--by providing the tools, insights, and collaborative exchanges to advance the state of the art in engineering and science for aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, or follow us on Twitter @AIAA.

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