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Air Pollution Control Commission

The Boston Air Pollution Control Commission works to maintain healthy air quality and noise levels in the City.

The Commission works to make our City a healthier and more comfortable place to live, work, and visit. We regulate activities that affect air quality and noise levels.

The Commission's programs and policies support our work to make Boston a carbon-neutral community by 2050. Reducing air pollution results in healthier air for Bostonians. We also reduce Boston's contribution to global climate change. 

Have questions? Contact:

Air Pollution Control Commission
1 City Hall Square, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201

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Annual renewals

All parking freeze permits and exemption certifications must be renewed annually by July 1 each year. To renew:

Please contact staff at APCC@boston.gov with any questions.

Boston Air Pollution Control Commission

The Air Pollution Control Commission reviews, permits, and regulates activities that relate to air quality and noise, including:

  • parking and idling
  • abrasive blasting and chemical cleaning of buildings, and
  • open burning and smoke from industrial sites. 

We work with many other City Hall departments, and local, state and federal agencies, to make Boston a healthier place to live.

Public hearings

We hold public hearings at least every three months. During hearings, the Commission reviews applications for parking freeze permits. The Commission may also discuss or make decisions related to:

HEARING DATES 
    Filing Deadline Hearing Date
    June 11, 2021 July 14, 2021, at 1 p.m.
    July 9, 2021 August 11, 2021, at 1 p.m.
    August 20, 2021 September 22, 2021, at 1 p.m.
    September 17, 2021 October 18, 2021, at 11 a.m.
    October 15, 2021 November 17, 2021, at 1 p.m.
    November 12, 2021 December 15, 2021
    Location 

    We hold hearings from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. in Room 900 at Boston City Hall (9th Floor), unless otherwise noted. Detailed hearing information will appear on the City's public notices page. Additional meetings may be scheduled. Meetings may be canceled if there are no permit applications for review.

    meeting minutes

    Hearing agendas and meeting minutes from 1977 to the present are available for review.

    Parking Freezes

    Parking freezes reduce air pollution caused by cars by limiting off-street parking in a given area. The Commission oversees the Downtown, East Boston, and South Boston Parking Freezes. You can view a map of parking freeze areas in the City.

    About our program

    Our parking freeze program is part of the Massachusetts State Implementation Plan (SIP). This plan ensures the state meets air quality standards under the federal Clean Air ActLearn more about Boston's parking freezes at our dedicated program page:

    Boston Parking Freezes

    Noise in Boston

    The Boston Municipal Code sets standards for reasonable noise levels. It also sets maximum acceptable noise levels for different times of day. An unreasonable level of noise is:

    • anything louder than 50 decibels from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., or
    • anything louder than 70 decibels at any time, except for permitted construction.

    The Commission has developed regulations that apply to residential, business, and industrial districts. Our Commission and the Boston Police Department work together to enforce the rules on noise.

    AFTER-HOURS CONSTRUCTION

    Inspectional Services approves after-hours construction permits on a weekly basis. Find approved permits near you. You can also contact your neighborhood coordinator to learn about approved after-hours construction in your area.

    For noise concerns related to construction and industrial sites, or ventilation and air-conditioning equipment:

    • During normal business hours, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., you can call us at 617-635-3850 or email APCC@boston.gov.
    • Outside of normal office hours, you can call 3-1-1 with your concerns.

    For noise concerns related to loud parties, sound amplification devices, or car alarms:

    • Please call 9-1-1. 

    For noise concerns related to airplanes, contact the Massachusetts Port Authority. You can:

    • Complete Massport's online form, or
    • Call Massport at 617-561-3333 between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    Diesel Emissions Reduction ordinance

    The 2017 Diesel Emissions Reduction Ordinance (DERO):

    • helps reduce harmful emissions from diesel vehicles and idling, and
    • requires that all pre-2007 vehicles owned or leased by the City or used by its contractors to have been retrofitted with more effective emission-reduction equipment.
    FY21 DERO Report

    Other Air Pollution Regulations

    Other Pollution Regulations
    Buildings icon
    Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance

    Buildings account for over seventy percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Boston. The Building Energy Reporting and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) requires that buildings over 35,000 square feet report their annual energy and water usage to the City. It also requires the City to make this data public. Buildings covered must also take steps to reduce their emissions every five years through energy actions or audits.

    Learn more about the BERDO Program

    The City is developing a building emissions performance standard to cut carbon from existing large buildings.

    Policy development process

    Abrasive blasting and chemical cleaning

    Abrasive blasting uses water, sand, or other materials under high pressure to clean surfaces. Chemical cleaning uses chemicals and water to clean surfaces. If your project requires abrasive blasting or chemical cleaning, you will need to apply for a permit:

    Car icon
    Massachusetts Anti-Idling Law (MGL Chapter 90, Section 16A)

    The Commission enforces Massachusetts General Law Chapter 310, CMR 7.00. The law states: “no person shall cause, suffer, allow or permit the unnecessary operation of the engine of a motor vehicle while said vehicle is stopped for a foreseeable period of time in excess of five minutes.” Violators may be fined up to $100 for the first offense. 

    Suggest a location for an anti-idling sign

    Commission Info

    Department:
    Stipend:
    No
    Total Seats:
    5

    Current members

    Member Appointed Expires Status
    Julien Farland Active
    Russell Preston 11/4/2019 9/1/2022 Active
    Sarah Lee 11/4/2019 9/1/2022 Active
    Gregory Rooney Active
    Richard Davey 1/3/2020 9/1/2022 Active
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