In late February, deadly Winter Storms Uri and Viola hit Texas, causing massive devastation. Millions lost power for days — i.e., no heat amid historically low temperatures — and grocery store shelves went bare, as supply chain issues resulted in a lack of new shipments.
Freezing temperatures also caused pipes to burst, leading to water supply issues for nearly half the Lone Star state’s residents. Thankfully, the storms are now over, but unfortunately, Texans are still dealing with the devastation it left behind — and the Environmental Protection Agency is doing its part to help.
EPA Providing Texas With Additional Support Post-Storms
In late February, the EPA announced it had deployed the Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology — i.e., ASPECT plane — along with its staff and equipment to Southeast Texas. The APSECT plane collected infrared images and air monitoring data over the Beaumont, Corpus Christi, and Houston, Texas areas for up to seven days per city.
The EPA is also taking other measures to support Texas after the winter storms. This includes ensuring Superfund sites are secure, assisting public drinking water systems with rapid assessments, and working to connect emergency response activities with Texas and other federal response agencies.
About ASPECT Planes
The only airborne real-time chemical and radiological detection, infrared and photographic imagery platform in the U.S., ASPECT is based near Dallas. It can deploy within an hour’s notice and start collecting data anywhere within the continental U.S. within nine hours.
This technology is available to assist local, national, and international agencies with hazardous substance response, radiological incidents, and situational awareness. It’s on standby 365 days per year, so it can always be counted on to spring into action when needed.
A single engine turboprop plane, ASPECT contains a suite of sensors and software. Top features include an infrared line scanner, high speed infrared spectrometer, gamma ray spectrometers, straw neutron detector, digital aerial mapping camera, satellite data/communication system, and data delivery using Google Earth, ESRI, and other formats.
ASPECT technology has a long history of past flights, dating back to 2013. Some of the other operations it has assisted with include an oil battery fire in Nageezi, N.M. in 2016 and the 2013 West Fertilizer Explosion in West, Texas.
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