What is an air quality complaint?
Most air quality complaints are reported when people detect something unusual in the air which impacts their quality of life. Common types of complaints include smoke, chemical odors, burning plastic or rubber odors, smoke from outdoor wood boilers, open burning, vehicle emissions, dust from demolition/renovation projects, improper asbestos abatement, and fugitive dust from gravel, mining and industrial activities.
For other types of complaints that are not specifically air-related, such as chemical or petroleum spills, wetlands impacts, surface water impacts, etc., please contact the appropriate program found at How Can I Report a Potential Violation.
What is regulated?
Air pollution is regulated by DES and the USEPA. Air pollutants include those that are generated by the combustion of fuel (wood, gas, coal, oil, etc.), the release of volatile organic compounds, hazardous chemicals and/or toxic materials and the release of dust during demolition/renovation projects, and asbestos abatement. Some air pollutants come from certain stationary sources and mobile sources, including incinerators, commercial/industrial facilities, the burning of non-conforming wood products and waste, and gasoline/diesel powered motor vehicles.
DES provides detailed fact sheets related to sources of air pollutants and appropriate controls. These fact sheets can be found at the Air Resources Fact Sheet website. Additional air quality information can be found at the Air Pollutants of Concern website.
DES does not regulate indoor air pollution, noise or odors (unless related to an emission of a regulated pollutant). Many municipalities have local ordinances that may include noise or odors. Therefore, you should first report any noise or odor complaints to your local health officer or local code enforcement official. A list of municipalities and contacts can be found at the Local Government Center website. Indoor air quality concerns can be reported to EPA at http://www.epa.gov/iaq/ or at 888-372-7341.
Although DES does not regulate odors directly, odors can sometimes be caused by emissions of a regulated air pollutant. Therefore, if you detect an unusual odor, you may report it as a complaint to DES.
How do I report an air quality complaint?
You may report an air pollution complaint by:
- Downloading and completing the Air Complaint Form and faxing it to (603) 271-7053;
- Emailing the completed Air Complaint Form to: firstname.lastname@example.org; or,
- Calling in your complaint to (603) 271-1370.
When reporting a complaint, please provide the following information as detailed on the Air Complaint Form :
- Your name and contact information (email and/or telephone number). Your name and contact information is not required to file a complaint. If you wish to remain anonymous, do not provide us with this information; however, we will not be able to follow-up with you.
- Address or location of the alleged source of the air quality problem.
- Detailed description of the air quality problem, including:
- Date, time and duration the air quality problem was detected.
- Weather conditions at the time the problem was detected, if available (temperature, precipitation, approximate wind speed and direction, etc.).
- Details of observations, such as color of smoke, specific details of activity observed, or other circumstances you feel are related to the air quality problem. Photos or site sketch are beneficial to document the complaint.
What will the DES do with my air quality complaint?
- Every complaint received is investigated.
- If warranted, DES will contact or visit the alleged source of the problem directly to investigate and seek resolution.
- If a violation of air pollution rules is discovered during the complaint investigation, DES will take appropriate action to resolve the issue, and if warranted, proceed with formal enforcement.
- DES will inform the complainant of the outcome of the investigation, unless the complainant chose to remain anonymous. Results of the complaint investigation are either presented verbally or in writing.
Note: Please be advised that all the information provided is subject to disclosure pursuant to RSA 91-A, Access to Governmental Records and Meetings Act. If you wish to remain anonymous you should not provide your name or contact information.
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