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The District receives thousands of complaints each year for which timely response and investigations of alleged sources of non-compliance are a top priority. During normal working hours, when a complaint is received and is reported as currently taking place, District supervisory staff identify the field staff nearest to the complaint location using GPS tracking systems in their assigned vehicles. The investigation of a complaint that is currently taking place takes precedence over all other assigned activities for the field staff assigned. After business hours, the District has an automated, bilingual complaint hotline for members of the public to report complaints. These complaints are immediately directed to on-call inspectors who are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week to respond to complaints and will address reporting parties’ concerns and abate potential non-compliance in an effort to protect public health.

In addition to filing complaints via telephone, the District also provides members of the public the ability to easily submit complaints, including video and photographs, online and through the District’s Valley Air mobile app. These complaints are assigned in the same manner as complaints made by telephone. Except for instances when complaints are filed anonymously, District staff will start the process by contacting the reporting party to gather information regarding the issue(s) at the root of the complaint and will keep them informed of the investigation findings until it has been completed. The District provides multilingual translation services, in the field or over the telephone, to ensure that all communities and groups within the Valley are served with the highest levels of respect and care.

What to report?

Complaints should be reported as quickly as possible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Potential air quality violations include:

  • Odors
  • Illegal burning/burn barrels/smoke
  • Smoking chimneys or use of outdoor wood burning devices on “No Burning Unless Registered” or “No Burning for All” days (Nov.-Feb.) (add link to “Check Before You Burn” page)
  • Dust or trackout generated from construction sites

How do I file an air pollution complaint?

County of Residence Toll Free Number
San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced (800) 281-7003
Madera, Fresno, Kings (800) 870-1037
Tulare, Valley portion of Kern (800) 926-5550

What information do I need to provide to the District when filing an air pollution complaint?

When filing an air pollution complaint, please provide a detailed description precise a location as possible, the nature of the complaint (eg., odor, burn, dust, smoke, etc.), and whether or not the activity is occurring at the moment. If possible, for odor complaints, provide the location and name of the operation you believe the source of odor is originating from.

Helpful Tips

The name and address of the reporting party are kept confidential to the extent allowed by State and Federal law.

How do I report a smoking vehicle?

Please note that this program only has jurisdiction over vehicles registered in the State of California.

When reports of smoking vehicles are received, the District looks up the registered owner from the Department of Motor Vehicle's database and mails an advisory letter providing informing them that a complaint has been filed regarding tailpipe smoke coming from their vehicle and recommends they have it repaired to eliminate excessive emissions. All information involved in the program remains confidential.

The following information is needed when filing a smoking vehicle complaint:

  • License plate number
  • The vehicle make and model
  • The date, time and location of the observation.

How about "Public Nuisance"?

The District receives complaints that may constitute a public nuisance. The state’s public nuisance law (CH&SC 41700) prohibits emissions which cause odors or other disturbances in the community that impact a significant number of people, create a threat to public health or cause damage to property. Odors emanating from agricultural operations, which includes the growing of crops or the raising of fowl or animals, are exempt from District and state requirements.

Helpful Tips

The more detail you provide regarding the air quality issue you are describing, the better able District staff will be to follow-up on the issue. Please be as comprehensive as possible.

If you are reporting smoke from something burning, please include what is being burned (vegetation, trash, tires, lumber, etc.), if possible, in the “Description” box.

  • For example, “Looking west from the intersection of A and First Street I see a column of black smoke rising about 100’ from the road that appears to be an ag burn with tires on it.”

If you are reporting an odor, please include the type of odor (eg., rotten eggs, gasoline, oil, sweet, sour, smoke, etc.), whether or not the odor is currently occuring, and how often/when the odor is detected in the “Description” box.

  • For example, “At 6:30 am I smelled a strong sour odor that appears to be coming from the northwest, possibly from 1234 Main Street, City Name. It is still occurring. Today is the first day that I’ve smelled this odor.”
Activities not regulated by the District
  • Aircraft contrails (Contact the EPA Stratospheric Protection Hotline at (800) 296-1996)
  • Animal carcass removal (Contact local Animal Control)
  • Marijuana smoke (Contact local Code Enforcement)
  • Mold and mildew (Contact your landlord/property manager or an industrial hygienist)
  • Odors from agricultural operations (Odors from agricultural operations (chicken ranches, tomato fields, etc.) are exempt per District Rule 4102 and the California Health and Safety Code.)
  • Odors from a suspected drug lab (Contact local police/sheriff dept.)
  • Pesticide application (Contact local County Ag Commissioner’s Office)
  • Smoke/odors from cooking
  • Tobacco smoking regulations (Contact local Environmental Health Agency)