Describe the air quality problem
If you smell a strong odor or see a lot of dust or smoke in your
neighborhood, think of ways to describe the emissions and try to identify their
source. For example, try to describe if it smells like rotten eggs, spoiled cabbage, burned plastic, ammonia, chlorine, garlic,
asphalt, or some other familiar material. (Information regarding
Salton Sea odors.)
Report the problem to 1-800-CUT-SMOG (1-800-288-7664) or
On-line Complaint System
air quality complaint calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During business
hours (7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday) your call is answered by an
attendant and on-line complaints are received by staff. During non-business hours an automated voice system,
or the on-line system, will prompt you for the
AQMD maintains complainant personal information, such as name, address and
telephone number, as confidential, to the extent allowed by state and federal
law. Such information may only be released under very limited and unique
circumstances, if required by the California Public Records Act or if requested
under a subpoena or used in court proceedings.
Although we accept complaints from anonymous persons, inspectors cannot
contact you for additional details or to advise you of findings, if
any, from follow-up investigations if this information is not provided.
*Note: the above links for smoke, dust and
odor are to the applicable rules which are PDF files for which a PDF
reader is needed.
Messages received off-hours are routed to
a standby supervisor who reviews the complaint and takes appropriate action.
Unless the air quality incident appears to pose a particularly serious threat to
the health or safety of the public, the supervisor usually dispatches an AQMD
inspector for follow-up the next business day.
How air quality complaints are resolved
Unless you request otherwise, the AQMD inspector assigned
to your complaint may call you for additional information
before beginning an investigation.
While many complaints can be resolved over the telephone and require
no additional follow-up, others require additional investigation.
If a complaint cannot be immediately resolved by phone, the inspector
locates and verifies the alleged source by surveying
the suspected area. On verifying the source, the inspector conducts
a facility inspection to verify the complaint and determine the
cause of the air quality problem.
The inspector documents the findings of the facility inspection,
issuing Notices to Comply or
Notices of Violation
as necessary for violations of the
and Safety Code, AQMD Rules and Regulations,
or AQMD permit conditions. After
the investigation, the inspector may contact
the complainant to discuss findings.
Some air quality problems, particularly odors which last for a brief
period of time, dissipate so rapidly that they are
very difficult to verify. When complaints like these are reported
(especially by drive-by or anonymous complainants, and particularly
after hours) there may be no further action other than a follow-up
call from an AQMD Inspector.
In contrast, if a public nuisance is suspected, an immediate
investigation of the alleged source may be necessary.