The Kentucky Energy & Environment Cabinet’s (EEC) drone team is finding new uses for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with every passing month. The drones are now used by nearly all cabinet divisions, including the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection. The drone team conducts regular activities such as:
- Flying over every contained landfill in the state annually to ensure requirements are met
- Surveying hazardous waste sites where access is difficult
- Documenting the installation of underground storage tanks and piping using GPS coordinates to create an exact location schematic of the systems
- Conducting dam inspections
- Identifying water leaks and harmful algal blooms
- Measuring wetlands
- Taking water samples, and
- Gathering detailed data with an unmanned surface catamaran.
“The list of things we can accomplish with drones continues to grow,” said Sarah Hettel, Division of Waste Management drone program coordinator. “We can inspect a vast area in a short amount of time, saving time and energy for our inspectors. We can protect our inspectors from entering dangerous areas or areas with difficult terrain. And we can harvest data that will be useful to the cabinet, and ultimately, the people of the Commonwealth.”
See the EEC blog for more information. You can also find more information on Kentucky’s drone program, including links to its drone specs in the February 2021 ECOS Green Report, State Environmental Agency Modernization – Leveraging Unmanned Aerial Systems to Improve Environmental Results.