Air Quality Complaints

(805) 654-2797
24 hour complaint line

What is an air quality complaint?

What happens when I make a complaint?

What is a "public" nuisance?

How do I report complaint?

Air Quality complaint references

(805) 645-1445
Compliance Division complaint line, M-F, 7am-4:30pm

(805) 645-1400
APCD receptionist, M-F, 8am-5pm

 

*Note After hours complaints usually dispatched to APCD personnel the following business day. Weekend complaints dispatched Monday morning


 

The Ventura County Air Pollution Control District is the local agency responsible for ensuring healthful air quality for all Ventura county residents. You can help us protect public health by reporting air quality complaints and smoking vehicles.

 

What is an air quality complaint?

Simply put, most air quality complaints are reported when people detect something unusual in the air which affects their quality of life. Complaints focus on any injury, detriment, nuisance, or annoyance that could harm people's health and well-being. The District receives over 500 air quality complaints a year. The most common types are those caused by odors, smoke, paint spraying operations, agricultural burning, fugitive dust, diesel fumes, and construction equipment. The APCD also has a smoking vehicle complaint hotline.

 

What happens when I make a complaint?

The District responds quickly to all complaints, usually within 24 hours. It is also APCD policy to inform you of the results of the investigation, provided you have left a telephone number.

 

Every air pollution complaint is carefully reviewed. Whenever possible, an APCD inspector will contact you by telephone to determine the nature, source and cause of the complaint. The inspector will verify the complaint information as well as the description and frequency of any health problem alleged to have resulted from the situation. The inspector may ask you for additional information including:

 

  • Frequency of annoyance or occurrence of the smoke, dust, odor or other problem in the complaint.
  • Names and addresses of other persons affected, if available.
  • Location and extent of any property damage.
  • Duration of the air quality problem at each occurrence.
  • Description of odors, if any.
  • Wind direction if known.
  • Any information that will relate the air quality problem to a specific source, operation, or piece of equipment.

 

While some complaints can be resolved over the telephone and require no further follow-up, others need more investigation. If a complaint cannot be immediately resolved by phone, the inspector attempts to locate and verify the alleged source by surveying and canvassing the suspected area. On verifying the source, the inspector conducts an inspection to verify the complaint and determine the cause of the air quality problem. The APCD considers a complaint to be "confirmed" if an inspector smells the odor, or views the dust or smoke, in the presence of the person who originally called in the complaint.

 

Often, by the time the inspector arrives on the scene, the odor has gone away, or the dust or smoke has disappeared. But even if the inspector cannot confirm your complaint, he or she will fill out a complete report. The District keeps a permanent record of all complaints investigated in Ventura County.

 

Complaints are classified as private and public. If the District deems a complaint a "private" nuisance, it means only a few people are affected. A neighbor-to-neighbor dispute is an example of this. In such cases, the affected party may need legal help to resolve the problem.

 

A Nuisance is a classified as "Public" as described in APCD Rule 51

A person shall not discharge from any source whatsoever such quantities or air contaminants or other material which cause injury, detriment, nuisance or annoyance to any considerable number of persons or to the public or which endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of any such persons or the public or which cause or have a natural tendency to cause injury or damage to business or property.

 

If the investigation of your complaint reveals either a "public" nuisance situation or a violation of APCD regulations, our inspectors can issue a Notice of Violation. This NOV is a written "ticket" informing a business or facility that it has failed to comply with an APCD rule or permit condition, or a state air pollution regulation or public nuisance law. Under the law, the business receiving the notice of violation can be fined each day, or part of the day, it is in violation.

 

After the investigation, the inspector may contact you to discuss findings and resolve the complaint. In severe cases, the APCD may go to court to stop the violation or even seek criminal prosecution.

 

How do I report an air quality complaint to the APCD?

Some residents make complaints by mail, fax, or email (complaints@vcapcd.org), but the APCD complaint line is by far the most common way of registering a complaint.

 

When you call the APCD complaint line to report an air quality complaint about a stationary source (like a factory or business) or any other type of complaint, please provide the following information:

 

  • Your name*, telephone number, & full street address.
  • Time and date the air quality incident occurred and whether it is still continuing.
  • Nature of the problem -- smoke, odor, dust, etc.
  • Whether you have experienced this type of problem in the past, and if so, when.
  • Name and address of the alleged source and the type of operation, if you know that information.

 

*Note Because APCD policy strictly prohibits the release of any information that would identify a complainant to an alleged source or to any other non-APCD personnel without your consent. All information about you and your complaint will be kept confidential by APCD staff. You can make an anonymous complaint, but the District encourages people who make stationary source complaints to provide their name, address and telephone number. This helps inspectors verify complaint information and allows them to inform complainants of the status of the investigation.

 

For more information regarding air quality complaints, you can view or download an Air Quality Complaints Fact Sheet here.

 

Additional air quality complaint references

  • (800) 952-5588 California Air Resources Board
  • http://www.arb.ca.gov/enf/complaints/complaints.htm California Air Resources Board
  • (805) 933-3165 Ventura County Agricultural Commission (Ag Odors, Pesticide and Herbicide Spraying Operations)
  • (916) 445-4300 California Department of Pesticide Regulation
  • (800) 427-2200 Southern California Gas Company residential
  • (800) 427-2000 Southern California Gas Company commercial & industrial (Gas odors or leaks)