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.
How do I file a complaint?
There are two ways to file a complaint. Complaints may be submitted to the District by either:
- Completing and submitting the Complaint Declaration Form. (The complaint form is in “Portable Document Format” and requires Adobe Reader© to open, a copy of which is available at no cost. Link to Adobe Reader.)
It is preferred that the form be completed electronically and sent to the District as an email attachment. Type in the required information into the form. Select the “Submit Form” button in the upper right corner of the form. A pop-up box will appear:
Select the “Desktop Email Application” button if you conduct email on your computer using an application such as Outlook, Eudora, or Mail. An email with the form will be attached, and the address will be filled in. You will need to hit send.
If you do not have an email program or you use an internet email service, select the “Internet Email” button. Save the form to your computer, and attach it to an email that you send to the District at firstname.lastname@example.org
If submitting the form electronically, a signature is not required. The inspector will obtain your signature during the investigation.
The form may also be printed by selecting the Print Form button in the upper right corner of the form. After printing, complete and sign the form. Submit the form by either:
- Scanning it and emailing it to email@example.com
- Faxing to (530) 745-2373; or
- Mailing to: Attn: Complaints
Placer County Air Pollution Control District
110 Maple Street
Auburn, CA 95603
- 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.