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The rules on noise in Boston

The rules on noise in Boston

The Air Pollution Control Commission protects air quality in Boston. Learn about the regulations on air and noise pollution.


There are several regulations on what kind of noise levels are generally acceptable after certain hours:

  • Anything louder than 50 decibels from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. is considered unreasonable.
  • Anything louder than 70 decibels is considered too much at any time.

We developed regulations that apply to residential, business, and industrial districts. Our commission and the Boston police work together to enforce the rules on noise. If you have a complaint, you can report it to the appropriate authority:

  • Car alarms, loud parties, or loud ampsCall the Boston Police Party Line at 617-343-5500, or contact your local police station.
  • Construction sites, industrial sites, vents and air conditioning, or equipment noiseCall the Air Pollution Control Commission at 617-635-3850, or email us at
  • AirplanesContact the Massachusetts Port Authority at 617-561-3333.
Still have questions? Contact:
1 City Hall Square
Room 709
Boston, MA 02201-2031
United States
Need to know

Find out more about the work of the Air Pollution Control Commission.

After-hours construction

Inspectional Services approves after-hours construction on a weekly basis:

list of approved after-hours construction

You can look up a map of the City's wards and precincts. You can also contact your neighborhood coordinator to see approved after-hours construction in your area.

Forms of air pollution

We protect residents against other forms of air pollution, too. We prohibit any contaminants that:

  • cause a nuisance
  • are harmful to people, animals, vegetation, or property, or
  • unreasonably affect residents’ right to enjoy life or conduct business.

We have rules that regulate various pollutants in the City, including:

  • the parking freeze initiative
  • the types of fuel that can be kept in stationary facilities
  • how much smoke can come from smoke stacks
  • the use of abrasive blasting and chemicals to clean buildings
  • the open burning of material (Contact the Fire Department to see if it's legal)
  • the dust and noise from construction sites and other sources
  • smoke from industrial areas, and
  • exhaust from idling vehicles.

We work with state and federal agencies to improve air quality in New England. We do this by enforcing ordinances, giving permits, and holding public hearings.