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TCEQ to monitor Air Quality in area by using sensor equipped helicopters

One of the Helicopters to be used for Air Monitoring in the Harris County area.

By Carolyn Stone

Precinct 2 Community Liaison Cindy Miller reports that two helicopters, a black one (tail number N808LL and a white one with yellow & black stripes (tail number N300AR), will be flying in our area from May 18th through June 30th, sometimes at very low altitudes and at length over various areas and companies. The helicopters are a part of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) aerial survey for air emissions.

The helicopters are equipped with a specialized infrared camera that can image volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other hydrocarbons invisible to the eye. VOCs pose serious health hazards and sight of these helicopters attempting to identify the sources of the VOC’s in our area should be a welcomed event. Included are photos of the helicopters for your help in identifying them when they are in your area.

Following is the official press release regarding this aerial survey:

HOMELAND SECURITY NOTIFICATION

Update May-June 2020 Texas Gulf Coast Survey-Houston/Galveston/ Brazoria

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has hired a contractor to conduct aerial surveys in the Houston/Galveston/Brazoria area of the Texas Gulf Coast starting May 18, 2020. The areas to be surveyed include but may not be limited to Brazoria, Galveston, and Harris Counties. In addition to a white helicopter with yellow and black stripes and tail number N300AR a black helicopter with tail number N808LL may also be seen in the survey area.

The helicopter is equipped with a specialized infrared camera that can image volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other hydrocarbons invisible to the eye. VOC are a class of compounds present in common things like gasoline and solvents. VOC can combine with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight to form ground-level ozone.

The helicopter will perform surveys over and around petrochemical operations and other industrial type facilities. During these surveys the helicopter may hover and fly a path over and around a facility or area multiple times in a manner that allows for the collection of images and other information on potential emission sources. The helicopter may fly a non-grid style search pattern over some areas to avoid tall structures. At times the helicopter may fly or hover at an altitude as low as 250 feet above ground.

The helicopter flights are scheduled to conclude by June 30, 2020.