Heads up Houston! The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is using two helicopters to conduct aerial surveys of petrochemical and other industrial facilities in Houston, Galveston, and Brazoria.

The helicopters (pictured below) are equipped with infrared cameras that can detect hydrocarbons and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are not readily visible to the human eye. VOCs can present serious, long-term, adverse health effects and short-term health effects such as breathing problems, dizziness, nausea, and headaches. 

You may observe one of these helicopters hovering over a facility (as low as 250 feet above the ground), repeatedly flying over a facility, or making grid-like passes over a single facility. The flights began mid-May and will continue through the month of June. 

At THEA, we are extremely excited about this proactive step the agency is taking!

We share our communities with industrial facilities and unfortunately, we don’t always have the best neighbors. We live amongst the largest petrochemical complex in the world, but that shouldn’t mean our health is sacrificed to live in this great region. We believe in the power of data and if we aren’t sampling or collecting data, we will never get close to the full story. 

If you see a flyover, snap a photo and tag us on social media! We’d love to hear from you. 

My best, 

Jackie Young Medcalf 

CEO | Executive Director 

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