Hunting for emissions leaks keeps the technician on the go

Helping to investigate fugitive emissions keeps Kenny Robinson Sr. on the move.

“I was in southeast Texas on Monday,” the senior LDAR technician for Kimark Systems, a unit of OTA Environmental Services, told The Reporter-Telegram in a phone interview while conducting LDAR surveys. – Leak Detection and Repair – in the Andrews area. .

Robinson, who has been with the company for four years, said he was based in Azle, northwest of Fort Worth, but worked throughout Texas as well as Oklahoma and New Mexico.

In his work, he uses Optical Gas Imaging (OGI) cameras to detect fugitive emissions from all possible sources – unions, combustors, flight hatches on storage tanks – no matter how small. He said the investigations are very detailed, looking at every element that could lead to fugitive emissions.

“I just look for any leaks” at any customer facility, whether it’s a compressor station, a production facility or a landfill, Robinson said.

The aim is to identify leaks so customers can get them repaired as quickly as possible to return to – or remain in compliance with – Railroad Commission and Environmental Protection Agency standards, he said. .

Plus, he added, after performing regular facility surveys, he can tell customers they had a similar problem last year and need to check or replace their equipment.

“When I leave a place, I want zero leaks,” he added.

Robinson, who grew up in Paradise, Wise County, found a way to become an LDAR technician through his son, who was working for the company at the time.

“I worked for a construction company in Nebraska,” he recalled, “My son worked for Kimark, said they were hiring, and here I am.”

After a four-year stint in the Navy after high school — including serving in Operation Desert Storm — he went to work in a Nokia warehouse, which led to a 20-year career in procurement.

“It’s always exciting work,” Robinson said of his work as an LDAR technician. “You never know what you’re getting into.”

Luis Vasquez, vice president of environmental services at OTA, said customers can be very confident that LDAR technicians have scanned the entire site for leaks.

“They marked and tagged the emissions so the customer was aware and could quickly provide spares,” Vasquez said.

Investigations fall under federal emissions rules known as the “Quad Oa” rules that require LDAR investigations. The proposed opportunities – known as Quad Ob and Quad Oc – could change the frequency of surveys, he said. And Quad Oc could bring existing facilities into the mix, meaning OTA’s LDAR techs could inspect a whole host of new sites, he said.

“I tell them every day that they are proactively making a difference in air quality and reducing emissions,” Vasquez said. “It’s easy to lose sight of that when you’re buried in paperwork, but they make a difference.”

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