Pilots are required to conduct a pre-flight inspection to determine airworthiness prior to operating an aircraft. In piston-powered aircraft a small amount of fuel is drawn from several quick drain valves and checked for contamination in a procedure known in the General Aviation (GA) community as “sumping”.
A common procedure historically used by pilots is to dispose of the sumped fuel and contaminated water to the ground; however, this is illegal because the discarded fuel and contaminated water can be hazardous waste. AvGas fuel deteriorates asphalt increasing the risk of foreign object damage (FOD) to aircraft, and seeps into underlying soil and groundwater where it persists and can cause environmental damage.
Several options exist for managing sumped aviation gasoline (AvGas) which are convenient, cost-effective, and compliant with environmental laws and regulations. The County of San Diego Hazardous Materials Division has developed guidance documents to provide the general aviation community and airport managers with information about properly managing sumped AvGas and contaminated water.