Predictive Enforcement of Pollution and Hazardous Waste Violations in New York State

Fellows: Jimmy Jin, Maria Kamenetsky, Dean Magee
Data Science Mentor(s): Adolfo de Unanue, Eric Potash
Project Manager: Paul van der Boor
Project Partner: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is the regulatory agency for environmental issues in the state. Their mission is to conserve, improve and protect New York State’s natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution. NYSDEC currently conducts approximately 700 inspections each year of facilities in the state that manage hazardous waste.

DSSG worked on more effectively allocating inspection resources by creating predictive models that identify facilities with high likelihood of violating environmental regulations. In 2015, we worked with the federal EPA targeting hazardous waste facilities subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). With inspection data from NYSDEC and the public RCRA dataset, we built a similar model to identify RCRA violators specifically in the New York region. We plan to further explore the possibility of applying models to other compliance inspection programs, such as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.