Here’s What a Single-Engine, Low-Flying Plane Is Looking for Across Western New York

Harter Secrest & Emery environmental partner Thomas M. Tuori recently spoke with WGRZ reporter Nate Benson to share insights on why an aerial surveying plane will fly a mere 500 feet above ground level in a grid-like pattern throughout Erie and Niagara County over the next month.

The flight crew, referred to as the ASPECT (Airborne Spectral Photometric Environmental Collection Technology), is partnering with the DEC and the EPA to conduct a radiological survey of Western New York.

The last time a survey of this kind was in Western NY was in 1984, 40 years ago, when approximately 100 radioactive hot spots were found across the region. Tuori anticipates that with all the advances in technology this time, they will more than likely identify a significant amount more.

Tuori explains that the surveyors are looking to identify the amount of radioactive materials placed in the ground, particularly in neighborhood roadbeds, parking lots, and driveways.

Tuori’s previous experience representing Western New York communities impacted by radiological waste makes him keenly aware of how robust this clean-up effort will be from both an environmental and financial perspective. 

See the full interview and Tuori’s insights here on

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