A new airport water supply from thin air - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

A new airport water supply from thin air

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Like most Californians, employees at Lindbergh Field are finding ways to save water during this historic drought and they've come up with a clever way to collect and reuse water that forms under the passenger boarding bridges.

On the tarmac of terminal one, the saying "waste not, want not" comes to mind.

Jonathan Heller, spokesperson for Lindbergh Field, says that with the severe drought in California, everyone is looking for ways to conserve and employees at the airport spotted an unconventional way to save water beneath the passenger boarding bridges.

The passenger bridges are equipped with air conditioning units that keep the planes cool while they are at the gate. Instead of letting condensation from the air conditioning units drip to the ground, crews at the airport are now collecting it.

"One day they were noticing the condensation on the ground and they were thinking that it's a shame that it goes to the ground and is just wasted," says Heller.

Airport crews have now attached hoses from the air condition units to 55 gallon barrels to collect the condensation.

"Once the barrels are full, the water is transported to different storage units. The water is kept in storage tanks until it is then used for things like power washing sidewalks as well as cleaning equipment," says Heller. "They're changed on a pretty continual basis."

Since crews began collecting the condensation, Heller says they have managed to save a lot of water.

"In a 6 month period starting last August, we collected 5,200 gallons of this water," says Heller.

Heller says that their new water collection system has produced more water for cleaning than they need and now they are looking into additional uses for it.

"If the water is as clean as we think it is, we would like to be able to use it as irrigation for our landscaping. We are going to do some testing to confirm that," says Heller. "We just happen to have a really good opportunity hear and were making the most of it."

Lindbergh Field is looking for ways of expanding the program, possibly by collecting condensation from other air conditioning units throughout the airport.

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