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Last updated: 11/28/17

Air Pollution Control Commission

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

The commission regulates activities that affect air quality and noise levels. We work to make our City a healthier and more comfortable place to live, work, and visit. We review, permit, and regulate activities like parking, idling, abrasive blasting. Other activities include the chemical cleaning of buildings, construction, open burning, and smoke from industrial sites. We also:

  • advise other City Hall departments
  • hold public hearings, and
  • work with other local, state, and federal agencies to ensure clean, healthy air and appropriate noise levels in Boston.

Have questions? Contact us:

1 City Hall Square, Room 709
Boston, MA 02201

2017 hearing dates

Hearing topics

We hold quarterly hearings to review applications for new or modified parking freeze permits in the South Boston or Downtown freeze areas. We may also discuss or make decisions related to:

Location of hearings

We hold hearings from 11 a.m. - 1 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.

2017 hearing dates

Our upcoming December 21, 2017, hearing has been canceled. We'll update this page with 2018 hearing dates when we have them.

Healthy air quality and noise levels

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 are liable for a fine of up to $100 for the first offense. The commission also educates drivers and institutions about the costs of excessive idling (air pollution, engine wear, fuel waste) and the benefits of idling reduction.

We also help residents dealing with noise issues. The Boston Municipal Code sets the standard for noise that is unreasonable or excessive. The commission determines whether noise exceeds these standards. The commission shares the responsibility of enforcing them with the Boston Police Department.

Rules on noise in Boston

Rules on air pollution in Boston

Who to contact

Do you have a concern regarding noise related to car alarms, loud parties, and amplification devices? Please contact:

Have concerns about noise related to construction sites, industrial sites, ventilation, and air-conditioning equipment? During regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 9a.m. - 5 p.m.), please contact us:

You can contact BOS: 311 at all other times. 

Do you have concerns regarding noise related to airplanes? Please contact the Massachusetts Port Authority:

The commission updates the List of Approved After-Hours Construction every Friday. If you are concerned about an after-hours construction project, first check this list to see if it’s been approved.