April 16, 2019

Airport Ramp Fuel Spill Cost Comparison

surface hog

Two of the major causes of ramp fuel spills are refueling accidents and thermal expansion of the fuel in the aircraft’s tanks while it is parked on the ramp. (Thermal expansion causes jet fuel to heat up and expand causing a plane to spontaneously vent fuel to relieve excessive pressure).

Spilled jet fuel presents an environmental hazard if it seeps into groundwater and is also a fire hazard on the ramp itself due to its volatility. The regulations and procedures of cleaning up fuel spills are numerous and well documented. However, the long term damage of spilled fuel to the ramp itself is a subject that is often not considered.

Over time, jet fuel from spills breaks down asphalt causing extensive damage to the ramp itself. A monthly cleaning with a Surface Hog as a preventative maintenance measure could be considered for ramps.

The 6,250 psi (431 bar) water pressure of the Surface Hog deeply cleans residual fuel and other corrosive material to help stave off costly repairs to the ramp. The Surface Hog uses its unique vacuum recovery system to ensure damaging materials are contained within the unit until the job is complete, eliminating the risk of dangerous runoff into nearby storm drains and bodies of water.

A large hypothetical airport that has 160 gates will serve as an illustrative example of the vast savings an airport can realize by using a Surface Hog for monthly ramp cleanings.

Each different aircraft that uses the airport requires ramp areas that are calculated based upon wingspan, fuselage length, GSE maneuvering, GSE staging, passenger loading bridge geometry, airline operations and in-ground systems. In this example, the planes are four different models of Boeing aircraft with ramp area requirements as shown below:

To see the cost-savings in using a Surface Hog versus a third party vendor for these 160 ramps to receive a monthly 6,250 psi cleaning, download the ramp cleaning guide below.