Filing a complaint

A primary District function is to investigate and resolve complaints concerning air pollution that adversely impacts you and your community - including, but not limited to, air pollution that involves the release of excessive odor, smoke, engine exhaust, dust, or chemicals.

If you have a health emergency requiring medical treatment, call 9-1-1.  The District is an enforcement agency for air pollution regulations and is not a first response agency for emergencies.

To report smoking vehicle exhausts or excessive bus or vehicle idling please call the California Air Resources Board's Vehicle Complaint Hotline, 1-800-363-7664 or 1-800-END-SMOG.

To report possible violations of Placer County codes and ordinances, including complaints of odors from Cannabis (marijuana) cultivation, please go to the Code Compliance webpage.


How do I file a complaint?

There are two ways to file a complaint. Complaints may be submitted to the District by either:

Press to file a complaint

Notice of Office Closure

During the week after Christmas, 12/26 - 12/29 the District Offices will be closed and complaints that are made by phone should follow the non-business hours procedures below. Complaints may be made on-online. All complaints received will be investigated.

or by calling (530) 745-2330

  • Regular Business Hours:
    • Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
      • A District representative can take your complaint over the phone
  • Non-Business Hours:
    • Weekends and holidays, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight AND business days from 5:00 p.m to 12:00 midnight
      • Your call will be transferred automatically to the Placer County Sheriff's Dispatch, who will forward your information to a District after-hours inspector. (Press 4 to be transferred to Dispatch)
    • 12:00 midnight to 8 a.m.
      • While your call will be transferred automatically to the Placer County Sheriff's Dispatch; District staff will respond after 8:00 a.m. (Press 4 to be transferred to Dispatch)

What information must be provided?

The following information is requested when filing a complaint:

  • A detailed description of the problem, including:
    • Nature of the problem
    • Location where the problem was observed
    • Suspected source, and type of operation, if applicable
    • Date, time, duration, and frequency that the problem has been observed, and whether the problem is occurring at the time the complaint is made
    • Wind condition (speed) and direction at the location of the problem
    • Impacts on your health, comfort and/or property
    • Your name, address, and phone number

The District may elect to not investigate complaints that are submitted anonymously, or that do not contain a phone number at which you can be contacted, or which lack the location and a brief description of the problem. This information is required to conduct an effective and efficient investigation, and allow for appropriate enforcement action.

The District has limited resources to respond to and investigate complaints. For this reason, the District will only investigate those complaints where the problem location is clearly identified or we can seek additional information by contacting the person who submitted the complaint (the complainant). The District wishes to prevent wasting resources on incomplete, vague, or fraudulent information.

In addition, if District staff do not observe a violation of District rules it may be necessary to base enforcement upon the nuisance complaints of a number of persons, in which case your testimony may be required. The identity of complainants will be kept confidential by the District to the extent possible, unless identities must be disclosed due to litigation. However in neighborhood situations or where there are existing conflicts the identity of the complainant might be assumed or guessed.

Complainants may bring suit in private nuisance cases where the District and other public agencies are unable to remedy the situation.

Is this an on-going situation or problem?

For complaints which are chronic and on-going, the District has provided a log that can be used to document the time, duration, and conditions that you observe. The log may be downloaded here, and like the complaint form above, may be filled out electronically or by hand.

What happens after I make a complaint?

A District inspector will be assigned to investigate the complaint. Investigations will be conducted as soon as reasonably possible, considering the severity and nature of the complaint, whether the problem is occurring at the time the complaint is received, and District resources and priorities. The investigation often will involve a visit to the location to independently document the situation, evaluate potential sources, and as appropriate, seek actions to correct the problem. In the course of the investigation, the inspector may call you to get clarifying information. We will take enforcement action on violations of District rules as appropriate during the investigation. After the investigation has been completed, the inspector will contact you to discuss our findings and outcomes.

When should a complaint be made?

If your comfort or health is being impacted, a complaint should be reported as quickly as possible after the air quality problem has been observed. The District may be able to respond in time to halt or minimize an on-going problem odor or dust situation. If your report can only be made after the problem has halted, but there is a possibility or even likelihood that it may re-occur, you can contact the District to investigate after the fact. Through our outreach we may be able to stop the reoccurrence of the problem. Also, if the problem does re-occur, contact the District as soon as possible so that we may respond and our staff are able to verify the problem. Our ability to verify, identify the source of, and potentially resolve a complaint is significantly aided by being able to observe the problem while it is taking place.