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Dallas/Fort Worth Airport has agreed to contribute $9,375 to the Learning to be Water Wise school program in a settlement with state environmental officials investigating three hazardous waste spills, including a February 2000 fish kill.
The money will be paid to the Texas Water Foundation for use in the water education program for fourth- through eighth-graders in the Metroplex, according to a settlement approved by the airport board.
The payment ends an investigation by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission into the finding of 75 dead fish at Trigg Lake on airport property.
During the February 2000 inquiry at the lake, investigators detected a sewage odor and also said that de-icing fluid might have leaked from nearby drains.
D/FW officials disputed the state's allegations that the airport had violated two sections of the Texas Water Code, including provisions that prohibit the discharge of waste into a lake from the airport's storm-water system, and the discharge of antifreeze chemicals from a detention basin.
But D/FW agreed to pay the fine to avoid a potentially costly legal dispute, airport officials said.
Kevin Cox, D/FW senior executive vice president, declined to comment about the settlement. But in a previous interview, Cox defended the airport's new $17 million de-icing system, which was designed to prevent hazardous spills. Parts of the system were installed before the fish kill.
"I can tell you that the system that's designed out there has worked quite well," Cox said.
The settlement came 20 months after the fish-kill investigation. In March and April 2000, investigators, with the help of the FBI, again responded to D/FW after learning that thousands of gallons of de-icing fluid might have entered airport-area lakes and creeks. Antifreeze leaked through the lining of a storage pond, according to documents.
Almost 6,000 gallons of de-icing fluid are believed to have seeped into Big Bear Creek, which flows near the southwestern boundary of the airport. Six-inch layers of black sediment with a strong antifreeze odor also were found in soil around the site.
The settlement, termed an "agreed order" by the state commission, came six months after a decision by the U.S. attorney's office not to pursue criminal charges in the case, according to a letter presented to the airport.