The rules on noise in Boston
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 amps: Call 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 noise: Call the Air Pollution Control Commission at 617-635-3850, or email us at APCC@boston.gov.
- Airplanes: Contact the Massachusetts Port Authority at 617-561-3333.
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.
- 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.