In accordance with the Clean Water Act, airports must responsibly manage stormwater runoff. Unlike highways, which have had extensive research on stormwater runoff, there is little data that indicates water quality of stormwater runoff from existing airports and airfields. There is preliminary indication from small studies that runoff from various airport land uses is cleaner than most regulatory staff assume, mostly due to the vast expanse of grassed areas on the land side of most public use airports in the U.S. More data is needed to support this hypothesis for airports to show a natural alignment with low impact development (LID) stormwater management features.
Idea No. 286