Saving Lives and Protecting the Environment

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology (ASPECT) Program


Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 hurricane in 2017 that had a diameter of 280 miles with winds of 130 mph during its first landfall and yielded 26 inches of rain in 24 hours in coastal cities. As federal, state, and local agencies responded to the damage and flooding wrought by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana, an additional concern was the danger posed to communities by heavily polluted sites within its wake. As part of its response, the EPA deployed ASPECT to provide real-time detection of chemical and radiological material from the air to help assess the situation and collect information about spreading hazards that may not be visible to the human eye.
Notably, multiple explosions occurred at a Texas chemical plant in the aftermath of floodwaters from Harvey. Combustion occurred when the chemicals reacted with oxygen after flood waters disabled the cooling systems. In the following hours and days, the team observe the occurrence of increased organic peroxides being released from the tank.  The team also observed the presence of glycol, a gas associated with sewer water/ rotting water. Once stagnated, the water had potential to present increased problems and environmental concerns.


Kalman’s ASPECT deployment team creatively applied specialized algorithms, monitoring technologies, and patented practices mapping the glycol extent the same way the team developed mapping radiation levels.
Kalman stands ready within 12 hours to support the ASPECT mandate to provide emergency response services to a wide range of chemical/radiological emergency situations including actual or threatened releases and Special Event Assessment Rating (SEAR) events and Nationally Significant Security Events (NSSE). Through coordination among Kalman’s Subject Matter Experts, ASPECT maintains the highest operational readiness standard and applies the highest quality, scientifically vetted detection and data processing algorithms. The Kalman Team is ready to deploy, provide reach-back technical support, conduct testing of the system, and react as needed to update, adjust, and refine the system on the fly.


Over the course of 18 days, ASPECT flew 28 missions that included a total of 679 flight lines. The Kalman Team provided technical expertise for remote passive infrared (IR) chemical detection for the ASPECT program.  We provided secure and accurate information to the First Responder/Incident Commander that was timely, useful, and compatible with numerous software applications. This served as the primary data set used for decision making. Together with the ASPECT team, Kalman remains committed to responsive, flexible, expert support ensuring the safety of our nation.

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