Operation ECO Quality
Operation ECO-Quality (ECO-Quality) is an initiative undertaken by DEC's Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) that focuses on small to mid-size regulated facilities within Environmental Justice areas. The program focuses on a three-pronged approach: outreach, consultation and compliance. The goal of this program is to improve the community's quality of life and reduce public health risks by communicating directly with these businesses to determine what leads to non-compliance, educating them on best management practices and pollution prevention, and bringing them into compliance with Environmental Conservation Laws and Regulations. OEJ partners with other DEC divisions such as Environmental Remediation and our regional offices to develop successful ECO-Quality campaigns.
ECO-Quality campaigns are also a partnership between DEC and the community. Every campaign begins with OEJ, Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) and Regional staff conducting enhanced outreach with community leaders and residents to get a better understanding of issues and concerns in the neighborhood. Program staff then conduct environmental assessments of facilities and businesses in the community, which consist of three phases:
- Pre-assessment: Collecting available information
- Site visits consist of an opening meeting, a facility orientation, a detailed site walkthrough, and interviews/conversations with facility personnel regarding on-site activities, observations of facilities' activities, completion of an assessment checklist, and a closing/debriefing meeting to gather information from facility staff that might clarify or inform the writing of the findings (if any) and the report itself. Post-site visit activities include further regulatory review/confirmation of site issues identified during the assessment, follow-up with facility staff as needed, development of corrective actions based on the findings (with DEC input as needed), recommendations of areas of concern and observations, preparation of an Environmental Assessment Report, and incorporation of these identified categories into the ECO-Quality Action Tracking System.
As part of the compliance process, ECOs also patrol areas with heavy diesel truck traffic and inspect trucks to ensure proper emissions standards. Officers will issue tickets for violations such as truck idling, emitting smoke with an opacity that exceeds standards, not having functioning emission control apparatus, not having an up-to-date emissions inspection, etc.
ECO Quality Initiatives
- South End, Albany
- Jamaica, Queens
- Inwood and Washington Heights, Manhattan
Dangerous Pesticides Outreach and Educational Campaign
The DEC Region 2 office (NYC) will be launching a dangerous pesticides educational and removal campaign for illegal pesticides sold in Washington Heights and Inwood. The campaign aims to educate the community about the dangers of purchasing and using unregistered and illegal pesticides in efforts to reduce demand and remove them from the community.
Information about Pesticides
Pesticides are substances that are meant to control pests. They are useful in everyday life, but you should use caution whenever handling pesticides. They can enter the body through drinking, touching, breathing, or being near an open bottle.
Illegal pesticides do not have a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number, and many of them don't provide any kind of instruction or warnings. If the product is not descriptive or clear about its ingredients, usage, and/or other instruction, do not buy it. Do not buy pesticides if they are not in their original containers; they may not even contain the pesticide you want, or the solution may have been diluted with other chemicals. Buying pesticides that are not in their original containers increases the chances of poisoning, and non-original containers might not withstand the chemical formula and could leach.
What to Look for in a Pesticide
The pesticide label is a legal document that has been approved by the EPA and the NYSDEC. You have the right to read and understand the health and safety information for all pesticide products.
A pesticide should be registered with the EPA and include the following information on its label:
- Product name
- EPA registration number (*unless Minimum Risk Pesticide)
- Active ingredient(s)
- Instructions on use
- Instructions on storage
- Contains warning statements, such as "Caution", "Warning," or "Danger"
- Contains a first aid statement
*The EPA defines Minimum Risk Pesticides as pesticides that pose little to no risk to human health or the environment. These pesticides are exempt from federal registration and, therefore, have no EPA Registration Number. Minimum Risk Pesticides must meet specific conditions set forth by the EPA, such as listing specific ingredients.
Pesticide poisoning is very serious and may require immediate medical attention. Symptoms include sweating, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, fatigue, headache, convulsions, and coma. If you suspect poisoning, call 212-POISONS (212-764-7667). Call 911 if the victim is convulsing, having seizures, having difficulty breathing, or is unconscious.
Check with your local municipal waste authority or contact the DEC for information on proper disposal. Never reuse pesticide containers or pour unused pesticides down a sink, toilet, sewer, or onto the ground. Do not throw out pesticides with the regular garbage. Do not touch pesticides with bare hands.
Fight Pests Using Legal Pesticides
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a sustainable, science-based process that combines biological, chemical, and cultural tools to identify and manage pests in your home. For more information visit Cornell University's IPM program (leaves DEC's website).
If you want to report a pest problem on your property or need help with pesticides treatments, please call 311. For any inquiries about disposal or to report any illegal pesticides being sold or used in your area, please call your local DEC office at 1-718-482-4994.