As traffic numbers return to pre-pandemic norms, the Martha’s Vineyard Airport is looking toward offseason projects to improve infrastructure and mitigate the effects of a PFAS contamination tied to airport firefighting equipment.

At a meeting of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission last Thursday, airport director Geoffrey Freeman shared air traffic numbers for October of 2022, which show a return to normal after traffic rose last year.

In October 2022, the airport saw 3,051 operations — down significantly from 4,170 in October 2021. The drop in flights continues a trend seen so far this fall, where the total number of flights at the airport has consistently dropped from 2021, which marked a high point.

Even as some airlines extended their seasons well into October, Mr. Freeman said airport enplanements were down 18 per cent in October this year compared with 2021. The downward shifts in traffic, Mr. Freeman said, signify a return to 2020 and pre-pandemic norms following a boom in both passenger and total flight traffic last year.

“We’re falling back in line with those time periods,” Mr. Freeman said.

With traffic levelling off, officials also laid out timelines for various planned airport projects that have been in the queue.

A long-planned upgrade to the airport’s wastewater treatment facility, which also services the airport business park, is slated to begin in earnest next winter, and that preliminary work on the project has already begun, Mr. Freeman said.

“Right now they’re doing some of the basic preliminary asbestos testing and whatnot,” he said.

Mr. Freeman said that substantial construction will begin in March and run through Memorial Day next year, before halting during the summer months. He said the project, which will see the wastewater facility’s capacity nearly double, is slated for completion in summer 2024.

Following some discussion by airport commissioners, Mr. Freeman clarified that the wastewater plant will remain operational throughout the project.

Also Thursday, Mr. Freeman laid out a timeline for the implementation of new PFAS remediation technology, following a 2018 PFAS contamination stemming from the airport. PFAS (which stands for per and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a large group of manmade substances, dubbed “forever chemicals” for their strong resistance to decomposition.

A plan to utilize carbon-based filtration technology PlumeStop to filter groundwater flowing from the airport toward West Tisbury neighborhoods and great ponds on the south side of the Island was approved by the airport commission in October. Currently under review by the state Department of Environmental Protection, the plan is set to cost nearly $275,000.

Mr. Freeman said work on the project is anticipated to begin Dec. 5.