Hydrology and drainage

Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat airport is situated on the western hemidelta of the River Llobregat. The main hydrological characteristic of the delta is that it has two aquifers, one deep one and another superficial. The underwater flow maintains its natural course from the interior to the coast, although there are some sinkholes in the airport's drains area.

The scarce slope and high phreatic levels hamper superficial drainage at the airport, favouring accumulation of water on the surface. For this reason, there are a series of canals on the airfield that capture the surface water, taking it to the three pumping stations at El Remolar, la Illa and La Roberta. In the event of heavy rain, the pumping equipment sends the water outside the airport grounds.

Conservation of the ecological and chemical quality of the waters that flow through the airport grounds is a priority for Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. The control and monitoring mechanisms are:

  • Installation of hydrocarbon separators and sluice gates to close the airport canals to contain accidental hydrocarbon spills on the apron.
  • Periodic control of the ecological and chemical quality of the superficial and underground waters within the airport grounds and, in particular, of the possible concentrations of pollutant substances.
  • Control of underground waters via a piezometric system.
  • Periodic visual inspection of the water in the canals