Reporting Environmental Problems
There are many laws in place to protect our environment and our health. Los Angeles County and other local, state, and federal agencies are responsible for making sure that those laws are followed and that public health and the environment are protected from pollution. Los Angeles County and the other agencies have many people working behind the scenes to protect health. Staff do things like review permit applications, conduct regular inspections of businesses, and work to have businesses make improvements to the way they operate in order to protect the health of residents.
Although there are many people working behind the scenes to protect your health, they rely on people like you to be their eyes and ears in the community. Nobody knows your neighborhood better than you do. By reporting problems to the County or other responsible agencies, you can help to improve the environment and your community’s health.
Who Does What?
There are many public agencies that are responsible for making sure different laws are followed and it can be confusing to figure out where to report the problem.
Follow the links below to learn more about which local agencies to call for problems in your community.
Gathering Information to Report Problems
Nobody knows a community better than the people who live, work, play, and learn there. LA County and other local, state, and federal agencies have a crew of people working to protect you, your health, and the environment but we can’t be everywhere at once. We need your help to find problems that might not occur when we are there to see, hear, or smell them.
In some cases, reporting problems might be as simple as making a one-time phone call. In other situations, there might be an ongoing issue that is more difficult to resolve. For those situations, you may need to keep a diary, take photos, or collect other pieces of information that can help you to report the information to agencies. This detailed information can help agencies enforce the rules.
Tips for Your Report
- Provide as much detail as possible, including the time and date of the problem, specific location of the problem, and any other details that could help an investigation.
- Give your name and contact information for follow up.
- If calling, ask for name and direct contact of person you are speaking to. Ask for details on follow up and if they can provide a complaint or record number. Note the date and time of the call.
- If using an online complaint form, note the complaint number and keep confirmation emails.
- If you are reporting again after not having the concern addressed, mention that to the representative and ask to speak to a supervisor.
- Ask to report in the language you are most comfortable using.
- Submit and keep copies of pictures taken to document the problem.
It is stressful to live with pollution problems. Take time to care for yourself. Find tips in ATSDR Stress Fact Sheet (English) | Hoja Informativa de Estrés de la ATSDR (Español)
Follow the links below for more resources about how to report and track problems.
- Keep track of bad smells to make reporting easier and more effective (ATSDR odor log) - English
- Use this log to write down details each time you notice a problem ( Problem Log - English ) ( Registro Problemas - Español )
- Use this log to write down details when you report problems ( Agency Report Log - English ) ( Registro Informes - Español )
Mental Health Resources
Environmental problems can cause stress and anxiety. View the resources below to help prepare for and cope with environmental challenges.
- Call the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health Hotline at (800) 854-7771 or text the Crisis Text Line ("LA" to 741741)
- Find brochures about preparing for and coping with disasters at the Department of Mental Health
- Prepare for emergencies: