EPA conducts chemical warfare air tests in Travis County, Texas

The Environmental Protection Agency began special air tests on Wednesday in Travis County, Texas, to prepare area officials for security for upcoming Formula 1 week.

Security forces in the area want to be prepared in case a terrorist releases harmful chemicals into the air. Pilots will fly a dual-propeller ASPECT aircraft that uses a scanner to collect air samples and test for chemicals, nuclear material or dirty bombs, KVUE reports.

"They might hear and see a low-flying, fairly large plane," Lisa Block, a Travis County Emergency Services representative, said, according to KVUE. "It's a dual propeller plane. They'll be conducting slow flights. They might hear loud noise and see the airplane."

The ASPECT was used for other large events in the past, including the Olympics, the World Series, hurricane damage and the Columbia Shuttle Recovery.

"Today is a baseline measurement of the air quality," Block said, according to KVUE. "They'll be looking for any chemical or radiological qualities in the air. It is a large event; the first one. We're gonna have lots of important people here in the Austin area. It's such a high profile event, we feel it's important to keep everyone safe."

If a suspicious chemical is detected, security officials would figure out a threat level, decide on whether or not to evacuate and get Homeland Security involved in the matter.

Locals are reminded that there is no evidence of a threat and that the test is standard policy during a large event, KVUE reports.