Reporting Complaints to SCAQMD

Air pollution is a serious health issue that can affect entire communities. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is responsible for protecting the air quality for Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.

SCAQMD believes that all who live or work in this area have a right to breathe clean air. In working towards this goal, SCAQMD appreciates the assistance of community members to report suspected air pollution violators. As such, the District has developed three methods for residents to report first-hand observations of excessive odors, smoke, dust, or other air contaminants.

First, members of the public can access SCAQMD’s online complaint system to report the details of their complaint, which can include any injury, detriment, nuisance, or annoyance occurring as a result of air contaminants or other materials.

On the form, individuals should report:

  • The time the air quality incident occurred and whether it is continuing at the time of your call or online report;
  • The nature of the air quality complaint — smoke, dust, odor, or other;
  • Whether you have experienced this type of air quality problem in the past;
  • The wind direction, if known;
  • The name and address of the alleged source and the type of operation, if known; and
  • Your contact information.

Users also have the option of attaching a picture or video to their complaint.

Second, residents can call 1-800-CUT-SMOG (1-800-288-7664) 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Complainants will be asked for the same information as that requested in the online form. 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 SCAQMD inspector for follow-up during the next business day.

While many complaints can be resolved over the telephone and require no additional follow-up, others may require additional information. 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 inspect, issuing Notices to Comply or Notices of Violation as necessary for violations of the California Health and Safety Code, SCAQMD Rules and Regulations, or SCAQMD permit conditions.

Third, residents can download and use the free SCAQMD mobile device app, available for download from the iTunes Store or Google Play.

All three methods ask for the contact information of the individual who is reporting the issue. However, this information will remain confidential, and may only be released under very limited and unique circumstances, such as being requested under a subpoena or used for a legal hearing. This information helps SCAQMD inspectors to verify complaint details as necessary, as well as to possibly contact the complainant to discuss findings of the investigation after it has concluded.

SCAQMD is committed to undertaking all necessary steps to protect public health from air pollution, with sensitivity to the communities and businesses affected.

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