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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. 

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
November 12, 2021 December 15, 2021, at 11:30 a.m.
December 13, 2021 January 12, 2022, at 1 p.m.
January 14, 2022 February 14, 2022, at 11 a.m.
February 14, 2022 March 16, 2022, at 11 a.m.
March 14, 2022 April 13, 2022, at 1 p.m. (canceled)
April 16, 2022 May 16, 2022, at 11 a.m.
May 16, 2022 June 15, 2022, at 11 a.m.
June 20, 2022 July 20, 2022, at 1 p.m.
July 18, 2022 August 17, 2022, at 1 p.m. (canceled)
August 15, 2022 September 14, 2022, at 11 a.m. (canceled)
September 19, 2022 October 19, 2022, at 1 p.m.
October 17, 2022 November 16, 2022, at 1 p.m.
November 14, 2022 December 14, 2022, at 1 p.m.
Location 

Hearings are held fully remotely using online meeting platforms until further notice. 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 or if we cannot reach a quorum of commissioners.

meeting minutes

Hearing agendas and meeting notes 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

Funding opportunity
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The Commission supports the Community Clean Air Grant. The program funds and brings visibility to community-driven projects that reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.
Community Clean Air Grant details

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. Boston’s updated Building Emissions Reduction and Disclosure Ordinance (BERDO) sets requirements for large buildings. The goal is to reduce their emissions gradually to net zero by 2050. They also need to report their energy and water use data to the City annually.

Learn more about the BERDO Program

Want to make healthy, climate resilient, and low-carbon building improvements? We have information to help building owners, tenants, and contractors.

Retrofit Resource Hub

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

Current members

Member Appointed Expires Status
Julien Farland Active
Russell Preston 9/22/2022 1/6/2025 Active
Alison Brizius Active
Brad Gerratt Active
Irmak Turan 9/22/2022 1/6/2025 Active
Eric Burkman 9/22/2022 1/6/2025 Active
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