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Heads-up: CalGEM Is Using Drones to Crack Down on Emission Leaks

October 21, 2021

The California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) is cracking down on emission leaks—and ending drones into the sky over your facility to do it. Be it from one of your tank tops or any other on-site equipment, each leak CalGEM finds via drone requires immediate investigation and follow-up mitigation actions.

Take a look at some of the imagery from CalGEM’s drone flyovers. The red and orange dots represent areas of elevated methane concentrations, which could translate into a hefty sum of fines.

Aerial footage from CalGem drone inspecting tanks in California for emission leaks

Montrose caught wind of CalGEM’s campaign from one of our California-based clients. Fortunately, they had good news to share: CalGEM identified zero leaks during its flyover of the client’s facility.  In fact, as of the writing of this blog post, quite a few of our clients have been the subjects of a drone inspection from CalGEM. And guess what? Zero leaks detected. Zero dollars in fines paid.

I don’t mean to brag but our team has done amazing work to ensure our clients come out squeaky clean. (OK, maybe a little.)  I really bring it up because I just think this highlights the importance of having an efficient and effective LDAR program in place. For many of our clients, this includes proper and thorough tank maintenance. Nothing will ever beat being prepared and staying vigilant.

Still, whether you’re a current client or not, we want to help you get ahead of the curve before CalGEM comes calling.

How Montrose Can Help You Prepare

Montrose can inspect the entirety of most facilities—not just tank tops—in no more than two hours using Optical Gas Imagining cameras. In fact, our LDAR technicians deploy the exact same drone technology CalGEM does. Our inspection will produce a report with similar aerial imagery that CalGEM would find in its own flyover. If nothing else, our inspection will provide a baseline for what you can expect out of CalGEM’s inspection. However, and more importantly, our report will reveal leaks and give you the opportunity to repair them before they can ever be found by CalGEM. 

How Montrose Can Help You Respond

Has CalGEM already conducted a drone flyover of your facility? That’s not a problem. Let us conduct a follow-up drone inspection to compare our images to CalGEM’s. In many cases, Montrose has been able to help our clients respond to CalGEM’s findings by conducting our own OGI inspections and by identifying the leaking sources on the ground.

Look at the two images below.  The one on the left is an aerial photo taken by a CalGEM drone.  Each red dot indicates a methane gas reading that must be rectified.  The image on the right shows our findings on the ground after we found the leaking source with an OGI camera and portable toxic vapor analyzer.


How Montrose Can Help You Moving Forward

If your company has had a drone flyover here is a simple plan. Contact Montrose to immediately come out to find every leaking source, make sure each leak is documented separately with repair dates, repair types and post PPM. If you are finding leaks on tank tops, consider putting a routine tank maintenance program in place.

Get in touch with us here.

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