Many residents have questions and concerns about loud noises or unpleasant odors that may be associated with industries or businesses in their community. The MPCA is only involved in regulating noise or odor in some cases; complaints about these issues are typically addressed by local governments.
Minnesota’s noise limits are set by the type of area and land use (residential, commercial, industrial, etc.), decibel levels, and duration. Noise becomes a health concern when there is long-term exposure to increased ambient noise levels. Intermittent noises such as horns, garbage trucks, sirens, and back-up beeps rarely violate the state’s noise standard because they don’t last long enough. Cities or counties often have nuisance ordinances that can be used to address noise concerns.
Submit a complaint using one of these options depending on the source of the noise.
- facilities with an air-quality permit: Call the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency at 651-296-6300, 800-657-3864 or use our online complaint form
- community sources (loud cars, restaurants, bars, parties, etc.): Local law enforcement
- airport activity or aircraft in the Twin Cities: Metropolitan Airports Commission
- highways: Minnesota Department of Transportation
- loud snowmobiles and off-road vehicles: Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- gun clubs or shooting ranges: MN Department of Natural Resources
- vehicle racetracks: Local law enforcement
- railroads: Federal Railroad Administration
Minnesota does not have a state odor rule, but sometimes odors can be an indicator of pollutants that have emission limits. Reducing odors is sometimes the by-product of reducing those pollutants. Not all unpleasant odors are human health concerns, and many unhealthy chemicals have no odor. The MPCA sometimes receives complaints about odor from livestock feedlots. Minnesota has a standard for hydrogen sulfide, which is a common cause of livestock odors. MPCA staff can test hydrogen sulfide levels with a hand-held meter and contact feedlot owners when the readings are too high. If hydrogen sulfide emissions are not reduced, the agency can take enforcement action.
- Odor complaints are usually handled on the county or local level because there is no state odor regulation.
- If the odor is coming from a company or facility, MPCA, city and/or county officials can check to ensure that is facility is complying with state and local rules and permits. To submit a complaint, call our air quality complaint line at 651-296-6300 or use our online complaint form.