Sunday, August 2, 2020

How to File Air Pollution Complaints

How to Report an Air Pollution Complaint


What can you complain about and who do you complaint to? How do you report air pollution concerns?

First, you can report anything that you think is affecting the air you breathe. This can be anything from odors you’re smelling that might be coming from a facility to dust getting kicked up by trucks or other vehicles, to smoke coming out of a truck exhaust system. Some of the most common types of air pollution complaints include:

-       Dust

-       Odor

-       Illegal Burning

-       Visible Emissions 

-       Smoking Vehicles

-       Idling Vehicles

But what happens when you see an air pollution concern and CARB or the Air District are not around to witness or take action?

When you see a potential problem, it is important to note a couple of important elements to be able to describe what’s happening as best you can.  

     WHAT is your complaint about?

WHERE does it occur?

WHEN does it occur? Is it ongoing?

WHO is the potential source?

WHY should you complain?


Remember, it is okay to complain simply if

something is a nuisance. A nuisance is a person, thing, or circumstance causing inconvenience or annoyance. Is there anything in the area that you consider an annoyance? Such as an odor from a facility or idling trucks? You can report that as well.

Now onto the tricky part – where do you report these concerns? 

CARB traditionally regulates mobile sources of air pollution, and Air Districts regulate stationary sources. A stationary source is something that is bolted to the ground or otherwise does not move, while mobile sources move throughout the state.  Through memorandums of understanding, some air districts assist with mobile source enforcement. 

In response to an increasing number of stationary source complaints reported by communities throughout the state, CARB has been increasing its focus on stationary sources.

This exemplifies that the more vocal you are regarding reporting these concerns the more CARB and Air Districts know about what’s happening in the areas you live and the more enforcement actions that can be taken. You know best about what’s happening in your community. The best way to make regulatory agencies aware of your concern is to report it, and to continuing reporting it every day that it occurs. Complaints from the community are one of the greatest tools enforcement has to identify violations. It is important for you, as the reporting party, to be both patient and persistent. Sometimes these concerns cannot be fixed or identified in a single complaint. The important part is to keep reporting these concerns to make sure CARB and Air Districts know there is still a problem occurring.

If an air pollution complaint requires an immediate response, contact the Air District first. CARB is based in Sacramento and El Monte whereas the Air Districts have inspectors located throughout the State so are able to respond to complaints more quickly. The following is a list of how to file complaints in each of the AB 617 air districts. For other air districts, visit to see what Air District has authority in your area, or reach out to and someone will follow-up with you.

Amador County APCD

Includes all of Amador County

(209) 257-0112

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Antelope Valley AQMD

Includes northeast portion of Los Angeles County

(661) 723-8070

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Bay Area AQMD

Includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, 
and Santa Clara counties, and the western portion of Solano and 
southern portion of Sonoma counties

(415) 749-5000

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Butte County AQMD

Includes all of Butte County


Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Calaveras County APCD

Includes all of Calaveras County

(209) 754-6399

Public Notice Webpage

Colusa County APCD

Includes all of Colusa County

(530) 458-0590

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Eastern Kern APCD

Includes eastern portion of Kern County

(661) 862-5250

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

El Dorado County AQMD

Includes all of El Dorado County

(530) 621-7501

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Feather River AQMD

Includes all of Sutter and Yuba counties

(530) 634-7659

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Glenn County APCD

Includes all of Glenn County

(530) 934-6500

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Great Basin Unified APCD

Includes all of Alpine, Inyo, and Mono counties

(760) 872-8211

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Imperial County APCD

Includes all of Imperial County

(442) 265-1800

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Lake County AQMD

Includes all of Lake County

(707) 263-7000

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Lassen County APCD

Includes all of Lassen County


Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Mariposa County APCD

Includes all of Mariposa County

(209) 966-3689

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Mendocino County AQMD

Includes all of Mendocino County

(707) 463-4354

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Modoc County APCD

Includes all of Modoc County

(530) 233-6401

Complaint Webpage

Mojave Desert AQMD 

Includes the Northern portion of San Bernardino County, and the eastern
portion of Riverside County

(760) 245-1661

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Monterey Bay Air Resources District

Includes all of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties

(831) 647-9411

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

North Coast Unified AQMD

Includes all of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity counties

(707) 443-3093

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Northern Sierra AQMD

Includes all of Nevada, Plumas, and Sierra counties

(530) 274-9360

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Northern Sonoma County APCD

Includes Northern portion of Sonoma County

(707) 433-5911

Complaint Webpage

Placer County APCD

Includes all of Placer County

(530) 745-2330

Complaint Webpage

Sacramento Metro AQMD

Includes all of Sacramento County

(916) 874-4800

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

San Diego County APCD

Includes all of San Diego County

(858) 586-2600

Complaint Webpage

San Joaquin Valley APCD

Includes all of Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, 
Tulare, and Valley air basin portions of Kern counties

(559) 230-6000

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

San Luis Obispo County APCD

Includes all of San Luis Obispo County

(805) 781-5912

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Santa Barbara County APCD

Includes all of Santa Barbara County

(805) 961-8800

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Shasta County AQMD

Includes all of Shasta County

(530) 225-5674

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Siskiyou County APCD

Includes all of Siskiyou County

(530) 841-4025

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

South Coast AQMD

Includes Los Angeles County except for areas covered by the Antelope
Valley AQMD, Orange County, and the western portion of San Bernardino
and Riverside counties

(909) 396-2000

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Tehama County APCD 

Includes all of Tehama County


Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Tuolumne County APCD

Includes all of Tuolumne County

(209) 533-5693

Complaint Webpage

Ventura County APCD

Includes all of Ventura County

(805) 303-4005

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

Yolo-Solano AQMD

Includes all of Yolo and the eastern portion of Solano counties

(530) 757-3650

Complaint Webpage | Public Notice Webpage

In addition to filing your complaints with Air Districts, it is also a good idea to submit it on the CalEPA website at If you don’t have access to a computer, you can also call CARB’s hotline at 1-800-END-SMOG (363-7664). The CalEPA Website allows us to report many different types of environmental concerns to one place and have them directed to the proper environmental agency. Your complaint will be sent to the appropriate state or local agencies, depending on your location and the type of environmental problem you select. CalEPA’s boards and departments work with more than 400 local agencies that enforce environmental laws. This website saves you the trouble of having to find out which agency is the appropriate one.

As you can see from the screenshot, you can report Air, Water, Toxic Substance, Pesticide and Solid Waste complaints here by checking the appropriate box. You can also change the page language to Spanish by clicking on the box that says English at the top.

While not mandatory, it is helpful to provide your contact information if you’re comfortable doing so because it allows an inspector to contact you to obtain additional information and follow-up on your complaint. CARB and Air Districts will never share your information with the responsible party. Your complaint will get a reference number when using CalEPA’s system to help you identify your complaint for follow-up.

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