How to file an air quality complaint

Clean air is an important component to a healthy community. LRAPA accepts, records, and investigates air quality complaints throughout Lane County. We respond to industrial complaints, fireplace and wood stove complaints, outdoor burning complaints, asbestos complaints, and more.

To file a complaint with LRAPA, use the "Click here to file an air quality complaint" button below. Please review the information on this page first to learn how to file an effective complaint.

LRAPA inspectors and compliance officers respond to complaints during business hours: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Complaints received outside business hours will be followed up on over the next business day.

Notice: your complaint is public record. As a public agency, LRAPA is required by our regulations and state law to provide access to your complaint if someone submits a request for it. A complainant's identity will remain anonymous if the, "Please keep my information confidential. / Por favor, mantenga confidencial mi información." box is checked.


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HOW TO EFFECTIVELY DESCRIBE AN AIR QUALITY ISSUE IN YOUR COMPLAINT

Air Quality Complaint Button
  1. Complaints may also be made by calling LRAPA's Complaint Line at 541-726-1930. También, se puede entregar quejas ambientales por llamar la línea de quejas de LRAPA a 541-726-1930.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What air quality complaints does LRAPA respond to?

    • LRAPA accepts all air quality complaints made in Lane County. However, LRAPA only has authority to respond to industrial, open burning, fugitive dust, home wood heating, asbestos, and general air quality complaints.

      LRAPA will accept recreational fire complaints but will not respond. LRAPA’s rules permit recreational fires in Lane County. However, Eugene City Code 6.200 prohibits recreational fires within the city limits of Eugene unless actively being used for the exclusive purpose of preparing food. Contact your local fire authority for enforcement of Eugene City Code 6.200.

      LRAPA will accept air quality complaints concerning agricultural burns and field burning within Lane County, however the agency does not have the authority to respond. LRAPA recommends you file a complaint with the Department of Agriculture by calling (503) 986-4709.

      LRAPA will accept air quality complaints concerning slash burning within Lane County, however the agency doesn’t have the authority to respond. LRAPA recommends you file a complaint with the Oregon Department of Forestry by calling (503) 945-7200.

      LRAPA will accept air quality complaints concerning marijuana (cannabis) farms within Lane County, however the agency doesn't have the authority to respond. LRAPA recommends you file a complaint with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission by calling (503) 872-5218, or visiting their complaint webpage.

      LRAPA will accept air quality complaints concerning hemp farms within Lane County, however the agency doesn't have the authority to respond. Odor from growing hemp is not regulated. LRAPA recommends you contact the Oregon Department of Agriculture by calling (503) 986-4709 to learn more about Oregon's right-to-farm agricultural laws.
  2. Does LRAPA investigate 100% of air quality complaints received?

    • LRAPA strives to investigate 100% of air quality complaints received but does not have the staffing or resources to investigate every air quality complaint filed. On average LRAPA investigates 95% of air quality complaints filed.

      In 2020, LRAPA investigated 732 of 765 (96%) air quality complaints received.

      In 2019, LRAPA investigated 821 of 855 (96%) air quality complaints received.

      In 2018, LRAPA investigated 654 of 678 (96%) air quality complaints received.

      In 2017, LRAPA investigated 756 of 806 (94%) air quality complaints received.

      In 2016, LRAPA investigated 722 of 761 (95%) air quality complaints received.

  3. If I leave my name, number, and address is my information confidential?

    • Your information will only be considered confidential if the box labeled, “Please keep my information confidential. / Por favor, mantenga confidencial mi información.” is checked. LRAPA appreciates receiving a name, address, and contact information with each complaint. This information is vital for compliance officers to follow-up with additional questions as needed.
  4. Can I file an air quality complaint without giving my name and phone number?

    • Yes! LRAPA accepts and investigates complaints made without a name and phone number. However, providing your name, address, and contact information is appreciated in case a compliance officer wishes to contact you to ask follow-up questions or seek clarification.
  5. What happens after I file an air quality complaint?

    • When an air complaint is filed with LRAPA the process to investigate the source of the air quality concern begins. The complaint is logged into our database and assigned to an inspector/compliance officer. Depending on the specifics of the complaint and current workload of LRAPA's compliance officers, the investigation will begin immediately or at the soonest available opportunity.

      The compliance officer will review the complaint and, if needed, contact the complainant to ask follow-up questions or clarify details. The officer may visit the location of the complaint and the surrounding area, usually when the air quality concern remains present, to identify a source. The officer will also use meteorological data and details provided in the complaint to narrow down likely sources.

      If a source is unable to be found the officer will detail their investigation in the complaint file and mark the source as “unconfirmed.” 

      If the source is found and exists on a residential property, the tenants or owners of the property will be contacted to educate and resolve the problem. If necessary, the compliance officer can initiate an enforcement action. The complaint file will be closed, and the source will be marked as “suspected,” “confirmed,” "unconfirmed," or "other" dependent on the results of the investigation.

      If the source is believed to be a commercial or industrial property, the compliance officer may conduct an onsite visit or inspection of the facility to assess for noncompliance with the facility’s air permit. The officer may also review facility records of activities and emissions (which are required to be kept by their air permit), in search of unpermitted releases of emissions and noncompliance. If no instances of noncompliance are found at a facility, the complaint filed will be resolved, and the source will be marked as “suspected,” “confirmed,” "unconfirmed," or "other" dependent on the results of the investigation.
      If noncompliance of an air permit is discovered, the compliance officer may issue a notice of noncompliance and initiate an enforcement action. The complaint file will be resolved, and the air quality issue's source will be marked as “suspected,” “confirmed,” "unconfirmed," or "other" dependent on the results of the investigation.

      After the complaint file is resolved, LRAPA will contact the person(s) who filed the complaint at their request. To request an LRAPA follow-up on a complaint investigation, check the “Please contact me regarding this complaint. / Por favor, contáctame en relación con esta queja” box on the complaint form.

  6. How can I be informed of the investigation results of my air quality complaint?

    • After an air quality complaint file is resolved, LRAPA will contact the person(s) who filed the complaint at their request to inform them of the investigation results. To request an LRAPA follow-up on a complaint investigation, check the “Please contact me regarding this complaint. / Por favor, contáctame en relación con esta queja.” box on the complaint form.
  7. What is the difference between "suspected," "confirmed," "unconfirmed," or "other" on investigation results of air quality complaints?

    • LRAPA classifies every air quality complaint filed with the agency into four different categories at the resolution of an investigation.

      • Confirmed: An air quality complaint is “confirmed” if an LRAPA inspector or compliance officer can visit the general location of the complaint and verify the air quality issue is detected at that location.

      • Suspected: Complaints are categorized as “Suspected” when LRAPA is unable to visit the location and confirm the air quality issue. LRAPA can compare meteorological data (such as wind speed and direction) to surmise the complaint is likely to be valid. In addition, this conclusion can be supported further by comparing the time of an air quality complaint to records of a facility’s activities. The record review can support this conclusion but is not required for a complaint to be classified as “Suspected.”

        This categorization is often the case for complaints which are received outside of LRAPA’s normal business hours.

      • Unconfirmed: Complaints may be classified as “Unconfirmed” if LRAPA is unable to detect the issue at the complaint location (and surrounding areas) after responding in a timely manner, and also unable to categorize the complaint as “Suspected” using a wind speed and direction assessment if that analysis indicates the named source is not the likely cause.

      • Other: LRAPA classifies certain air quality complaints as “Other” if it is determined the source/facility/person named in complaint is not the likely cause for the air quality concern (e.g., LRAPA determines the air issue originated from another source than what is named in the complaint.).
    • LRAPA evaluates production activities as part of the response to industrial and commercial complaints but does not rely entirely on that information when responding to and categorizing complaints. The verification of the air quality complaint is never solely based on facility feedback to LRAPA.

      Both “Confirmed” and “Suspected” complaints, while technically different categories, are attached to the source and hold the same regulatory weight and value.
  8. What are common causes of air quality complaints in Lane County?

    • Air quality issues can be created by an assortment of natural or artificial processes. In Lane County, common forms of air pollution are from wildfires (both local and distant fires), home wood heating devices (like fireplaces or wood stoves), industrial process and activities, and open burning (also known as backyard burning).
  9. Does LRAPA inspect industrial facilities after receiving an air quality complaint?

    • LRAPA’s compliance officers may conduct onsite inspections and compliance evaluations after receiving an air quality complaint. However, not all air quality complaints received result in an onsite inspection and compliance evaluation of an industrial facility.

      LRAPA’s compliance officers also conduct routine onsite inspections and compliance evaluations of permitted facilities without first receiving an air quality complaint.

  10. Will LRAPA issue a fine if I file an air quality complaint?

    • No. LRAPA will never issue a Civil Penalty and fine based solely upon an air quality complaint received. However, a complaint can initiate an investigation that results in an enforcement action and Civil Penalty.
  11. I have filed an air quality complaint about an industrial odor and it keeps happening, what is LRAPA doing about it?

    • LRAPA investigates air quality complaints on facilities with inspections, compliance evaluations, and records review. It is possible for a facility to be responsible for creating an odor without violating any conditions in the facility’s air permit. In these situations, LRAPA cannot stop the facility from conducting activities or processes creating the odor.

      However, LRAPA retains the complaint on the facility in our database. Future complaints on the facility are investigated and the file is preserved in our database. 

  12. Should I continue to submit complaints if LRAPA can't stop the odor?

    • Complaints made are stored indefinitely in our database. Overtime, a facility with frequent and ongoing complaints from a community can result in LRAPA declaring the facility a suspected public nuisance for odors and request the business formalize a Best Work Practices Agreement with LRAPA. This agreement is voluntary, but can result in the facility agreeing to change processes and activities or the install equipment to reduce odors.

      LRAPA cannot declare a facility as a suspected public nuisance for odors if we do not receive complaints from community members who genuinely encounter odors.

      A history of air quality complaints associated with a particular facility can provide cause for LRAPA to add additional permit conditions to a facility's permit during the permit renewal process. These permit changes will then become enforceable provisions which function to reduce or resolve odors.

      Air quality complaints are also an important way the community can make known they are experiencing an air quality issue causing them discomfort or distress. The short-term benefit is that they provide LRAPA with data to help guide where our inspectors can focus time and attention. Which can result in an on-site visit at a facility in question and inspection.

      The long-term benefit to air quality complaints is the historical documentation of a community impacted by a source. LRAPA can objectively describe the experience of odors from a specific source over the years because the community has continued to make us aware of them.

  13. How often should I submit complaints when there is an ongoing air quality issue?

    • LRAPA recommends you file a complaint each time you encounter an air quality issue which creates discomfort or distress. Multiple complaints received in a single day on a single air quality issue from the same complainant will be considered a single air quality complaint. Additional information received in subsequent complaints will be added to the original complaint file. 
  14. How do I obtain a copy of my air quality complaint and LRAPA's investigation?

    • Closed air quality complaints are public information. To obtain records of your complaint and LRAPA’s investigation results, please submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) records request on our Records Request webpage.

      Air quality complaints which remain open and under investigation are not subject to FOIA records request.