Odours FAQ

We are committed to protecting the environment and safeguarding the health of our employees, business partners and the general public. Below you will find answers to the most commonly asked questions regarding Environmental Management at Hamilton International Airport:

The application of de-icing fluid ensures aircraft are suitable for safe operation during the winter months and prevents accumulation of snow and ice on aircraft surfaces. The critical flight surfaces on an aircraft need to be clean and free of contaminants in preparation for take-off.
The holding ponds at Hamilton International have low concentrations of glycol and during biodegradation can create an odour. Depending on current weather conditions such as wind direction and velocity, air temperature and density, the location of odour may vary.
Propylene glycol (PG) is considered a relatively non-toxic substance to mammals. PG products are biodegradable and do not bioaccumulate in the environment. PG can also be found in some foods, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.
Residual low concentrations of glycol remain in the pond after the winter season and will biodegrade over time, causing potential odours during biodegradation periods in the spring and summer.
Prolonged periods of keeping windows open can lead to increased odours in the home. If you can smell odours from the residential sanitary sewer line in your home, it is a good indicator that private plumbing deficiencies may exist and other more serious gasses from the sanitary system are entering the home. A local plumber can assess your plumbing system and make recommendations on how to remedy any deficiencies.
Odours from degradation of glycol can occur year-round depending on certain weather conditions, and therefore odours may be apparent indoors and outdoors in the vicinity of the Airport. Odours may arise when the holding ponds are drained either through the creeks or through the sanitary system. Indoor odours could mean a home has private plumbing connection deficiencies to the sanitary sewer line.

Hamilton International is engaged in a study to determine best practices for glycol mitigation as well as continues to monitor the pond levels through composition testing. Hamilton International continues to work diligently to identify and implement new technologies to control and minimize odours through our glycol management program.

For odour inquiries, please contact the Airport at 905-679-1999 or odours@flyhamilton.ca.