Use of Drones in EPA’s Superfund and Emergency Response Programs
From ITEP Team
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This presentation was delivered as part of the Tribal Lands and Environment Forum: Virtual Gathering in August 2021 by Erika Wilson and Matthew Huyser of the US EPA.
In December 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established a new agency-wide policy for the use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (i.e. sUAS, UAS, or “drones”). This presentation will discuss how the EPA’s Superfund and Emergency Response programs are implementing the new agency policy and developing drone use as a normalized tool for remedial, removal and response projects. Topics will include data security; public coordination; approval and documentation; adherence to FAA requirements; data quality; sensors and analysis; and funding mechanisms including EPA grants. Examples of recent projects using drones will be presented such as: aerial imagery and surface elevation models of Superfund sites; thermal imagery to detect underground storage tank and landfill fires; thermal sensors to detect groundwater seepage to surface water; methane gas survey; magnetometer and ground penetrating radar; and maps of downriver sensitive environments.