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- Seetaram Mukhesh
Mtech 1st Year
• A well designed airport drainage system is a prime
requisite for operational safety and efficiency as well as
pavement durability.
• Inefficiency of drainage facilities may result in
Costly damage due to flooding
Erosion of slopes
Saturated and weakened pavement foundations
• Airport drainage system is similar to street and highway
drainage design. One consideration for airports is the
relatively flat gradient.
• They require immediate removal of surface water. Thus, they
need an integrated drainage system.
• Removal of water should be done from runways, taxiways,
aprons, parking lots etc.
• Runoff is removed from the airports by means of surface
ditches, inlets and an underground drainage system.
• The design process mainly consists of
A. Estimation of runoff
B. Basic system for collection and disposal of runoff.
C. Provision for adequate subsurface drainage.

• Only a portion of the rainfall flows as runoff

Some water evaporates
Some intercepted by vegetation
Some infiltrates into ground
• Airport drainage channels must be designed for
precipitation losses.
• Losses depend on slope, soil condition, vegetation and
land use.
• Runoff coefficient indicates the hydraulic nature of the
drainage area.
• It is defined as the ratio of quantity of runoff to the total
precipitation that falls on the drainage area.
• Rainfall intensity is the rate at which rain falls, expressed in
inches per hour.
• Such data is collected over a span of five years to compute
the runoff coefficient.
• The hydraulic design of a system for collection and
disposal of runoff is divided as:
i. Layout of drainage system
ii. Underground pipe system
iii. Open channels
i. Layout Of Drainage System
• A generalised topographical map showing 2-ft contours
should be obtained or prepared.
• All natural and manmade objects influencing the drainage
should be represented. Like, existing water courses,
canals, irrigation ditches, etc.
• A detailed drainage plan showing the runway-taxiway
system should also be prepared.
• The grading plan makes it possible to select appropriate
locations for drainage ditches, inlets and manholes.
• Storm drains are placed as needed at low points.
• FAA recommends that inlets be located laterally at least 75ft
from the edge of pavements and also at air carrier airports
and 25ft from the edge at general aviation airports.
• Providing drain inlet near to pavements should be avoided as
it might lead to ponding and may cause flooding.
A typical drainage contour with runway and taxiway representation
ii. Underground Pipe System
• It is important that sufficient velocities should be
maintained to prevent accumulation of suspended matter
within the pipes.
• A mean velocity of 2.5ft/sec will prevent deposition of
matter in pipes.
• Ponding is another important aspect to be considered.
During high rate of runoff inlet, temporary ponding occurs
in the vicinity of inlet.
iii. Open Channels
• Open channels and ditches play a major role in drainage
system. Thus, the size, shape and slope of these must be
carefully determined.
• The flow in long channels is assumed to be uniform. The
energy losses due to friction are balanced by slope.
• Generally wide and shallow open channels are preferred.
• Channel slope should not be steeper than 2.5:1 (H:V)
• Subsurface drainage has three functions
To drain wet soil masses
To intercept and divert subsurface flows
To lower and control the water table
• Subsurface drains consist of 6-8in dia pipes laid in trenches
1.5-2m wide and backfilled with pervious filter material.
• These are most effective in sandy clays, clay silts and sandy
• The finer grained materials (silts and clays) are difficult to drain.
• Whereas the coarser grained materials (gravel and sands) tend to
be self draining.