Press Release: Heath Consultants Incorporated Utilizes Advanced Research Small Unmanned Aerial Sensor Technology for Emergency Gas Leak Response Following Hurricane Harvey

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Heath Consultants Incorporated (Heath) and Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI), demonstrated the usefulness of drone-mounted laser-based leak detection technology for emergency response. The Remote Methane Leak Detector Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (RMLD-UAV) was deployed to inspect underground gas lines around Beaumont and Port Aransas, Texas for major leakage of areas which were inaccessible to vehicles and unsafe for walking due to down utility lines, flood water, hazardous debris such as fallen trees, fences and metal roofing. The operation illustrates the benefits of drones in situations when typical land surveys are not possible.

The RMLD-UAV integrates Heath’s industry-leading, laser-based, Remote Methane Leak Detector (RMLD®) with PSI’s two-foot-wide quadrotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle featuring highly advanced autonomy and all-weather operation. This technology combination can implement self-directed flight patterns to continuously monitor, locate, and quantify volumetric leak rates of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from natural gas production sites.

The RMLD-UAV measures methane by sending an infrared laser light beam downwards from the vehicle and detecting some of the laser light which is reflected from the ground. It relies on attenuation of the laser beam by the methane in the laser path at certain wavelengths, as compared to little attenuation at other wavelengths.

Development and evaluation of RMLD-UAV is sponsored by the US Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA-e).

Since 1933 Heath Consultants Incorporated has been the leader in natural gas detection technologies and services. Heath partners with well-recognized research and development organizations as well as industry trade associations to provide state-of-the-art products and services to various utility markets including products specifically designed to detect greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and services for environmental safety. For more information, please visit:

Physical Sciences Inc. (PSI) provides contract research and development services in a wide diversity of technical areas to both government and commercial customers. PSI’s interests span basic research to technology development, with an emphasis on applied research. PSI develops advanced technologies for aerospace, chemical, defense, energy, environmental, manufacturing and medical applications. Core technologies have been developed with more than $900 million of federal and industrial funding over four and a half decades of operations, a period in which PSI has acquired an international reputation for technical excellence and innovation. For more information, please visit:

Mike Snead Named Recipient of 2017 Milton W. Heath Sr. Memorial Award

Heath Consultants is pleased to announce Mike Snead, Manager, Leak Survey and Meter Services, Washington Gas, was named as the recipient of the 2017 Milton W. Heath Sr. Memorial Award at the American Gas Association’s Annual Operations Conference in Orlando, Florida. This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions toward the detection, prevention and repair of natural gas leaks.

In 2001, Mike began a career path in the gas industry with Washington Gas where he’s worked in gas operations, maintenance, corrosion control, safety and leak survey. In 2015, he was selected to manage all the leak survey programs in the metropolitan Washington D.C. area as well as the meter service programs in the field.  All leak survey technicians are currently using state of the art intrinsically safe methane leak detection to perform inside leak surveys.

The leak data for Washington Gas is paired up with tablets in a new pilot program which represents another aspect of Mike’s contribution in advanced programmatic leak survey with the use of mobile and portable leak detection software. The software platform integrates GPS, system maps, instrumentation readings and survey tracking in real time allowing Washington Gas the means of setting strict auditing parameters for its in-house crews and contractors.

Mike’s contributions have significantly improved the quality, thoroughness, and efficiency of the leak survey program at Washington Gas not to mention his deep, personal, and genuine commitment to pipeline safety and the customers he serves.