Issues Involving Storm Runoff Are Resolved
The Panama City – Bay County International Airport and
Industrial District (Airport Authority) has reached an agreement
with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) on a
series of steps to address temporary stormwater management issues
that occurred during construction at the new Panama City –
Bay County International Airport construction site in northwestern
The Airport Authority reacted quickly in May 2009 to address the
stormwater management issues. Since then, the Airport Authority and
FDEP have been working together on a final agreement based on the
plan submitted by the Airport Authority to address environmental
concerns. Under terms of the agreement, the Airport Authority has
agreed to pay a $251,000 fine to FDEP.
The Airport Authority is working with FDEP to reinvest the fine
in further environmental improvements at the new airport.
“Regardless of heavy rains, the situation with our
stormwater management system was unacceptable, and we moved as
quickly as possible to address all the shortcomings,” said
Joe Tannehill, Chairman of the Airport Authority. “Throughout
this process we have continued to work closely with the Florida
DEP, and we believe we have reached an outcome that is not only
fair, but will also benefit the environment and the people of Bay
“The Airport Authority has set a very high environmental
standard for the new airport,” Tannehill continued. “We
remain committed to designing, building and operating
America’s first green airport based on our detailed plans for
wetlands mitigation, wildlife management, wastewater treatment and,
yes, stormwater management that greatly exceed minimum requirements
set by Florida law.”
To date, the Airport Authority has undertaken extensive
efforts to meet and exceed the agreed upon plan issued by the FDEP
and to prepare the site to be able to manage a tropical storm event
during hurricane season. The airport has committed $400,000 to
expedite necessary projects and improvements.
The Airport Authority has taken the following actions to ensure
the airport site is prepared for any future tropical rain
- Major stabilization of grading and seeding around the airport
site to reduce soil erosion. Stabilization of the site including
seeding, seed drilling, mulching and paving.
- 825 acres are under final stabilization
- 210 acres are under temporary stabilization
- 375 acres are undergoing stabilization
- 125 acres still to be stabilized
- All perimeter ditches have been fully sodded and there has been
re-grading and re-sodding of ditches along the General Aviation
Erosion control measures are in place, including:
- Silt fencing in place and checked daily.
- Hay bales in ditches.
- Increased berms around the site.
The construction team is working to make stormwater treatment
ponds fully functional and in accordance with their final
It has an updated plan to handle large rain events in the future.
The site management system has been streamlined, and each
contractor has appointed a single point of contact with
A proactive environmental compliance management program
has been implemented that includes designated personnel, clear
chain of command and timely reporting to the Airport Authority, and
established a method of improved communication between the Airport
construction team and the DEP including weekly and monthly
“I am pleased with the way construction team has responded
and addressed the stormwater management issues,” said
Tannehill. “We’ve seen a dramatic improvement over the
last 75 days. I also want to thank FDEP for all their work. This
has been a team effort, and the project, the environment and the
people of Bay County are the ultimate beneficiaries.”