Under the Environmental Protection Act (Act) (415 ILCS 5), any person can file a complaint with the Illinois Pollution Control Board (Board) against an alleged polluter. The Board is Illinois' environmental court for pollution cases. The Board therefore hears and decides environmental enforcement actions, but does not prosecute them or investigate alleged pollution.
On this web page are sample complaint forms and related information on how to file a complaint. There are two types of complaints that a citizen can file with the Board against an alleged polluter: (1) an informal complaint; and (2) a formal complaint.
An informal complaint is a request by a citizen for the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to conduct an informal investigation of alleged pollution. The Board forwards the informal complaint to IEPA.
A formal complaint filed by a citizen (complainant) starts an enforcement action against an alleged polluter (respondent). If the Board accepts the formal complaint for hearing, the complainant has the burden to prove that the respondent committed the alleged violations. Requesting an informal investigation is not a prerequisite to filing a formal complaint.
The explanatory materials provided with the sample complaint forms are for general informational purposes only. They do not constitute legal advice or substitute for provisions of any statute or rule. You may also wish to consult the Act and the Board’s procedural rules. The Board’s environmental rules on air pollution, land pollution, water pollution, and other types of pollution are found in Title 35 of the Illinois Administrative Code.