Frequently Asked Questions

How do I file an informal or formal complaint with the Board?

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.

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 the 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 and do not constitute legal advice or substitute for provisions of any statute, rule, or regulation.

You may want to consult the Act and the Board’s procedural rules. The Board’s environmental regulations on air pollution, land pollution, water pollution, and other types of pollution are found in Title 35 of the Illinois Administrative Code. Additionally, the Clerk’s Office, at the number listed below, can provide you with a copy of specific regulations that might apply to your situation.

If you have any questions, please contact the Clerk's Office at (312) 814-3461.

How do I file a noise complaint with the Board?

If the Board receives an informal complaint alleging noise pollution, the Board forwards the informal complaint to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). IEPA, however, no longer has the resources to operate a noise program. Accordingly, IEPA is no longer investigating alleged noise pollution.

As IEPA no longer runs a noise program, it suggests that you consider reporting your noise concern to the local police or health department. Local authorities may provide you with guidance, or take steps on their own to enforce the State's noise laws. The Board, as the State's environmental court and rulemaking body, has no investigators.

The Board notes that anyone can file a formal complaint with the Board, alleging noise violations under the Environmental Protection Act (Act) (415 ILCS 5/1 et seq.) and Board regulations. As with any citizen enforcement action before the Board, you, as the complainant, would have to gather evidence to prove the violations that you allege. You may want to consult the Act, the Board's procedural rules, and Board's noise regulations.

If you have additional questions please call the Clerk's Office at (312) 814-3461.

What are the other State environmental agencies and what are their functions?

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA)

IEPA's mission is to safeguard environmental quality, consistent with the social and economic needs of the State, so as to protect health, welfare, property and the quality of life.

Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA)

IDOA protects and promotes the state's agricultural and natural resources. Through its bureaus, IDOA provides services that benefit consumers, farmers, and agribusinesses.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

IDNR has the responsibility to conserve, preserve and enhance Illinois resources, while meeting the outdoor recreation needs of Illinois' large and diverse population. IDNR programs address a wide scope of concerns, ranging from developing recreational facilities to accommodate more people on public lands, to protecting natural areas. IDNR also manages game and fish populations, while protecting endangered plant and animal species.

Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM)

OSFM’s mission is to reduce death, injury, and property loss of Illinois citizens from fires, explosions, and other hazards.