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Complaints

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The Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District [District] is the agency responsible for ensuring healthful air quality for the high desert portion of San Bernardino County and Blythe. You can help us maintain the area's air quality by reporting excessive dust, odors, smoke, defective gas station nozzles or other air contaminants.

  • To determine whether a complaint is within our jurisdiction, please check our boundaries.
  • For a listing of other California Air Districts, click here.

What is an Air Quality Complaint?

An air quality complaint is a formal complaint about a nuisance or annoyance concerning emissions of air contaminants. The District does not have authority over smoking vehicles, those complaints should be reported here. It is also worth noting that agricultural operations, defined as operations necessary for the growing of crops or the raising of fowl or animals are exempt from our nuisance regulation.

Prohibition Against Causing a Public Nuisance

California Health and Safety Code Section 41700 states that no person can discharge air contaminants that cause injury, nuisance or annoyance to any considerable number of persons or the public, or discharge air contaminants that endanger the comfort, health or safety of such persons. If a business violates this prohibition or any other air quality requirement, the District may issue a Notice of Violation to the business. If a Notice of Violation is issued, the business must take action to correct the violation and pay a monetary penalty to the District.

How do I Report an Air Quality Complaint?

When an air quality problem is observed, call our complaint line at (800) 635-4617. Alternatively, a complaint form can be filled out and faxed, mailed or e-mailed to the District. To assist in our investigation, please be sure to provide the following information:

  • Your name, address and telephone number.
  • The time and date the air quality incident occurred and whether it is still continuing.
  • The nature of the air quality complaint (dust, smoke, odor, chemical, gas, paint or other).
  • Relevant meteorological data such as wind speed and or direction.
  • The name and address of the alleged source and the type of operation causing it, if known.
  • Pictures relevant to the air quality complaint, if available.

Complaint information is forwarded to a District inspector; as soon as possible; for investigation and resolution. However, complaints received after normal business hours or during a non-work day may be dispatched to an inspector the next business day.

Do I have to Identify Myself when Submitting a Complaint?

The District always encourages people reporting air quality problems to provide their name, address, and telephone number. This information helps District inspectors verify complaint information, including any prior history of air quality problems involving the alleged source, and allows them to inform complainants of the status of complaint investigation activities. District policy strictly prohibits the release of any information that would identify a complainant to an alleged source or to any other non-District personnel without their consent. Information about your complaint will be kept confidential, except where required in matters pending before a court.

How are Air Quality Complaints Handled?

If the assigned inspector needs additional information to conduct an investigation, the complainant will be contacted. Once the inspector has enough information, he or she will determine the cause of the alleged air quality problem. Upon completion the complainant will be notified of the Districts findings.

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 observing the suspected area. Upon verifying the source, the inspector conducts an inspection to verify the complaint and determine the cause of the air quality problem.

The inspector documents the findings of the inspection and if warranted will issue a warning, a Notice to Comply, or a Notice of Violation for any observed violations of air quality requirements. The inspector will inform the source of the suspected cause of the complaint and what steps could be taken to address the problem. Upon case completion, the complainant will be notified of the Districts findings.

Quite 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.

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.

Additional Air Quality Complaint References

Helpful District Rules

If you would like to contact the California Air Resources Board about a complaint, please call
(800) 952-5588 or visit the air pollution complaint page more information.

If you would like to contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about a complaint please call
(415) 947-4142 or visit the violation reporting page.

If you would like to request a copy of our records regarding a complaint in the District, please fill our Public Records Request Form and submit it to the District as outlined in the form.

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