State Department of Environmental Conservation to use drones to identify abandoned gas wells

Published: Apr. 13, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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VESTAL (WBNG) -- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, or NYSDEC, will use drones to locate thousands of abandoned methane and gas wells across the region, some of which date back to the 1800′s.

The NYSDEC has been trying to pinpoint these wells for eight years, but up to this point, most of the work has been done on foot with handheld instruments.

Now, with the help of drones, officials expect to be able to cover the same acreage in one day that would have previously taken weeks on foot.

The Commissioner of the NYSDEC Basil Seggos believes it is critical to find these wells due to the potential danger they pose to the environment and the public.

“These wells are out in fields, often in the woods, unknown, undetected and can severe as a source of danger to people or the environment,” said Seggos.

Plugging these abandoned wells is also part of the state’s fight against climate change with many emitting greenhouse gases still.

“We have an interest in reducing methane emissions in New York, methane emissions [from these wells] are a powerful greenhouse gas,” Seggos told 12 News.

Seggos said the goal is to plug the abandoned wells spread throughout the region in partnership with the federal government.

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