EPA permits to pollute public water sources by ZIP Code.
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Polluters Per ZIP Code

Today, I decided to take the top 25 most populated cities in the United States and find the 531 individual ZIP Codes that make up those cities (minus the ZIP Codes that are only used for PO Boxes -- the Python script for doing this is up on Github, too).

Then, I used Code for America's Python epa module to look-up the total number of facilities with EPA permits to pollute public water sources -- along with the ZIP Code that contained the most facilities.


Want to be able to run the same queries I was able to? It's pretty easy, just make sure you have pip installed on your computer, and run the following command.

$ sudo pip install epa

Or you can use the requirements.txt file I've included in the repo.

$ sudo pip install -r requirements.txt

What were the results?


2190 facilites have been permits to pollute public water sources.

You can run the epa_pcs_zip_codes.py script to verify this, but it will take a couple minutes -- and put a strain on the EPA's servers. But, if you're unsure of the number I've presented, you can go ahead and run the script for yourself.

$ python epa_pcs_zip_codes.py

Highest Count

The Jacksonville, Florida ZIP Code of 32218 has 178 facilities that have been granted EPA permits to pollute public water sources -- some of the records date back to the 1970s.

    >>> # How can I verify that?
    ... from epa.pcs import PCS

    >>> data = PCS().facility('location_zip_code', '32218', count=200)
    >>> data['Count']


The average number of facilities per ZIP Code turns out to be a little more than 4.

    >>> from __future__ import division
    >>> 2190 / 531