The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has contracted a helicopter and pilot to conduct aerial surveys around the Corpus Christi area this past week, with the agency set to secure the same surveys over the Beaumont/Port Arthur area in the near future. The aircraft is equipped with a specialized infrared camera designed to gather imagery of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other hydrocarbons that are invisible to the eye.
VOCs, a class of compounds present in common things like gasoline and solvents, can combine with nitrogen oxides in the presence of sunlight to form ground-level ozone. Locations to be surveyed include petrochemical operations and other industrial facilities that have the potential to be polluters of VOCs.
The Corpus Christi surveys were scheduled to conclude March 9. Similar surveys are also planned for the Permian Basin area as well as the Beaumont/Port Arthur and Houston/Galveston/Brazoria areas.