Air Quality Complaints

An air quality complaint is a formal complaint about the emissions of air contaminants - including smoke, dust and odors which have the potential to cause injury, nuisance or annoyance.

The District commonly investigates these types of complaints:

  • Smoke
  • Odors
  • Dust 
  • Improper Asbestos Removal
  • Gasoline Dispense Nozzle
  • Unpermitted Equipment and Operations
  • Illegal Burning

Issues on this list could potentially rise to the level of a public nuisance. California Health and Safety Code Section 41700 and District Rule 51 states that no person can discharge air contaminants that cause injury, nuisance or annoyance to any considerable number of persons or the public, or that endanger the comfort, health or safety of such persons.

What Kind of Issues Does The District Not Regulate?

Aircraft Contrails

Contact the EPA Stratospheric Protection Hotline at (800) 296-1996.

Animal Carcass Removal

For the City of San Diego-contact City of San Diego Environmental Services at (858) 694-7000.

For all other areas of the county contact D & D Inc at (888) 299-9905.

Odors From A Suspected Drug Lab

Contact the County of San Diego Methamphetamine Strike Force  at (877) NO-2-METH. You should also contact your local police department.

Marijuana Smoke

Call your local police or sheriff department.

Mining Fly Ash

Mining and Tunneling Unit, Div of Occupational Safety & Health at (530) 895-6938.

Mold and Mildew

Contact your Landlord/property manager or an industrial hygienist.

Odors from Agricultural Processes

Odors from agricultural processes (chicken ranches, tomato fields, etc.) are exempt per our nuisance Rule 51 and the California Health and Safety Code. For additional questions contact the District at (858) 586-2650.

Pesticide Application

Contact the County of San Diego, Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures at (858) 694-8980.

Tobacco Smoking Regulations

Contact the Tobacco Control Resource Program at (619) 632-5514.

How Do I Report An Air Quality Complaint?

When an air quality problem is observed at a stationary source (business, government, or military), please call (858) 586-2650 or email a completed Air Quality Complaint Form (en Espanol) to You can also submit complaints using the Tell Us Now! App.

The following information will assist the District in investigating your complaint:

  1. Your name, address, and telephone number
  2. The time and date the air quality incident occurred and whether it is still continuing
  3. The nature of the air quality complaint (smoke, dust, odor, or other)
  4. The name and address of the alleged source and the type of operation causing it, if known

For after-hours complaints, please call (858) 586-2650 and select option 2.

Complaint information is forwarded to a District inspector as soon as possible for investigation and resolution. However, complaints received outside of normal business hours (M-F, 8 AM-5 PM) may be investigated the next business day.

If a business is in violation of any air quality rules or regulations, the District may issue a Notice of Violation. If a Notice of Violation is issued, the business must take action to correct the violation and may pay a monetary penalty to the District.

After the investigation, the inspector contacts the complainant to discuss the findings. The complainant is advised to report any additional instances as they happen.

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 by a court of law (for example, if a subpoena is issued to the APCD).

The District occasionally receives complaints that meet the criteria of a nuisance. California Health and Safety Code Section 41700 and District Rule 51 states that no person can discharge air contaminants that cause injury, nuisance or annoyance to any considerable number of persons or the public, or that endanger the comfort, health or safety of such persons. See the Nuisance Complaint Program for more information.