A small, unassuming enclosure is emerging as an essential environmental tool with innovative technology that improves the way oil and gas facilities keep their worksites safe and environmentally compliant.
The AirWatch System™ hydrocarbon monitor provides continuous emissions monitoring at oil and gas facilities for hazardous air pollutants, including volatile organic compounds and hydrocarbons (C5-C16). The system was first implemented at a Colorado facility in 2019.
“New regulations in Colorado are requiring real-time air monitoring around oil and gas facilities,” said Steve Kahn, WSP environmental engineer. “There were limited equipment options for durable, reliable, real-time volatile organic compound monitors that could meet the requirements of various new regulations. The AirWatch System was developed to meet this new demand.”
LT Environmental, Inc., a WSP USA company, developed the proprietary AirWatch System, a monitor that measures ambient air quality at facility fence lines and is only available to WSP clients. Jeremy Espinoza, Kayla White and Brian Sulzberger were the key designers of the technology.
“The AirWatch System was developed and designed entirely in-house,” Kahn said. “Research and development with our clients, as well as conversations with regulators and municipalities, have allowed us to refine the system and how we operate it to maximize run time and account for factors such as weather extremes, real-time sampling, data validation, battery life and accuracy.”
The AirWatch System can identify leaks faster than traditional monitoring methods, which helps expedite process equipment repairs and remediation, reduce air emissions, and protect public health and the environment.
Real-time data is stored and accessed through a secure web-based portal. The AirWatch System collects air samples for laboratory analysis and speciation at a predetermined volatile organic compound threshold using mechanical automation. Meteorological data including temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction are also collected.
The units have parts-per-billion-level sensitivity that trigger automated alerts, which are then sent to WSP and the client when a predetermined volatile organic compound threshold is met, indicating further site investigation may be warranted.