Noise pollution — Frequently asked questions for citizens

Noise is part of our everyday lives and affects some people more severely than others. This page provides answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive about noise pollution. The information is divided into three sections:

  • General noise pollution information.
  • How to file a noise complaint.
  • What to do if a noise complaint has been filed against you.

General noise pollution information

Q: Does Ecology have rules for noise pollution? Q: How is noise measured? Q: How loud is too loud? Q: Is off-road and other non-highway vehicles noise regulated? Q: What are the decibel levels for everyday noises? Q: What if the local noise ordinance is different from the Department of Ecology's rule? Q: What if there is no local noise ordinance in my area? Q: What is the role of local government in regulating noise? Q: Does Ecology approve local government noise ordinances? Q: Who should I contact about railroad noise?

Filing a noise complaint

Q: How do I get noise measured? Q: How do I make a noise complaint? Q: What can I do if the local government doesn't follow up on my complaint? Q: What happens to my complaint? Q: What if a local government chooses not to enforce noise rules or ordinances? Q: What should I do about a noise problem? Q: Why do I need to go to my local government and not Ecology?

Noise complaint filed against you

Q: How do I check the noise levels reported in the complaint? Q: What if someone files a noise complaint against me?