Industrial Safety

Infrared helps EPA spot gas leaks

Nov 09, 2005

FLIR Systems announced that the EPA, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TEQC), the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Texas Petrochemical and other companies and agencies purchased the company’s GasFindIR to help reduce the risk of explosions, EPA fines and greenhouse gas emissions.

The camera is capable of detecting volatile organic compound (VOC) gas emissions from petrochemical facilities, gasoline refinery installations, natural gas pipelines, transfer stations, supertankers, moving railway tank cars and even landfills emitting methane gas and other chemicals into the environment. FLIR’s acquisition of Indigo Systems brought together engineering and manufacturing strengths that made the camera commercially viable.

 “We just purchased two GasFindIR cameras to help the EPA identify fugitive gas emissions and hazardous air pollutants,” said Ken Garing, a leader in the EPA’s National Enforcement Investigation Center. “For the very first time, we have a technology that lets us see gas leaks that were never before visible to the naked eye.

“We look forward to using this camera to evaluate future changes to the EPA’s leak detection and repair regulations,” Garing added. “We are very anxious to start using it in the field.”

Fugitive gas emissions contribute to global warming, cost industry billions of dollars in regulatory fines and damages, and pose deadly risks to both workers and people living close to these facilities.

“I’ve been in this industry for more than 30 years. I practically grew up on the oil fields,” said David Furry, cofounder of Leak Detection Services. “This has been the Holy Grail everyone’s been chasing for a long, long time. This is big.”

 Initial field trials of the camera have exceeded expectations. A temporary Web page ( has been set up to assist in fielding inquiries and to provide a video introduction to this new technology.