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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:

  1. Pre-assessment: Collecting available information
  2. 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


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