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Complaints

NHDES relies on citizens to provide extra eyes and ears to detect potential violations.

Environmental protection is everyone's business! Since NHDES inspectors can't be everywhere, NHDES relies on citizens to provide extra eyes and ears to detect potential violations. If you see a situation or activity that you think may violate an environmental law, please let us know so we can investigate it appropriately. Many NHDES programs have developed forms specific to the areas they regulate. If you have information that does not relate to these programs, please email your complaint to legal@des.nh.gov

Air Quality Complaints

Most air quality complaints are reported when people detect something unusual in the air that impacts their quality of life. Common types of complaints include open burning, smoke from outdoor wood hydronic heaters, chemical or burning odors, improper asbestos abatement, or fugitive dust from gravel, mining or industrial activities. NHDES does not regulate indoor air pollution, noise or odors. NHDES staff conduct complaint investigations and inspections. NHDES received 92 complaints in 2019. Three common complaints received by NHDES are outdoor burning, dust and asbestos.

Smell a strange odor? Read "Odors and Your Health."

NHDES regulates air pollutants that may be generated by the combustion of wood, gas, oil, coal, etc.; the release of volatile organic compounds, hazardous or toxic air pollutants; the open burning of prohibited materials; activities that release fugitive dust; the use of outdoor wood hydronic heaters; and the release of dust from asbestos abatement during demolition/renovation projects and at schools. NHDES does not regulate indoor air pollution, noise or odors. NHDES staff conduct complaint investigations and inspections.

To file a complaint: 

New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services 

Air Resources Division – Compliance Bureau 

29 Hazen Drive, P.O. Box 95 

Concord, NH 03301-0095.  

  • Fax a written complaint to (603) 271-7053. 

What happens next?

Upon receipt of a complaint, NHDES will review the information provided. NHDES may contact or visit the alleged source to further investigate the complaint, possibly referring it to the Air Enforcement Program.  

 

Waste Storage and Disposal and Accidental Spills

waste drums dumped in a fieldThe Spill Response and Complaint Investigation Section (SRCIS) responds to complaints related to illegal disposal of oil and hazardous materials, illegal dumping of solid waste, automobile accidents, road side spills involving oil, chemicals and other waste, and spills onto surface waters of the State.

Types of Complaints to Report:

  • Drums and Misc. Containers (improper storage/disposal).
  • Hazardous Waste (improper storage/disposal).
  • Petroleum (improper storage/disposal).
  • Solid Waste (improper storage/disposal).

How to File a Complaint:

  • First: Contact local officials such as the code enforcement, health officer, selectmen, fire or police departments to resolve the issues at the local level.
  • Second: If the complaint cannot be resolved at the local level and additional assistance is required, you can complete and submit the SRCIS complaint form.

 

Drinking Water Complaints

The NHDES Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau (DWGB) regulates public water systems, certified public water system operators, New Hampshire-accredited laboratories, licensed water well contractors and well pump installers, and large water use reporting. The bureau also issues permits for groundwater withdrawals and groundwater discharges, and issues approvals for new sources of public drinking water and water conservation plans.

To file a drinking water complaint:  

 

Surface Water Complaints

The NHDES Watershed Management Bureau (WMB) uses a holistic and integrated approach to achieve clean water goals for surface water. The bureau includes over 20 programs that work together to address potential surface water violations. Surface water complaints include, but are not limited to, objects in waterbodies, fish kills, flow issues, foam, non-point discharges, water odor, oil sheens on waterbodies, dumping into waterbodies, turbidity/erosion and swimming/health concerns.

To file a surface water complaint:

You may download a complaint form or submit your complaint using the NH Online Forms system. Anonymous complaints are accepted but please note that we might not be able to investigate them fully if there is insufficient information.

 

Wetlands, Shoreland, Land Use Complaints

The Land Resources Management Program (LRM) is committed to prioritizing and responding to complaints as quickly and efficiently as possible. The general public can use this complaint form to report violations of New Hampshire environmental laws falling under the jurisdiction of LRM, which includes land development, shoreland development, septic systems and wetlands.

 

Wastewater Complaints

The NHDES Wastewater Engineering Bureau (WWEB) investigates unauthorized point source discharges to surface water.

  • Information should be first reported to local officials such as selectmen, code enforcement officers or health officers.
  • Information not investigated by local officials can be reported to the WWEB using the Surface Water Complaint Form.
  • Questions? Call the WWEB at (603) 271-3908.

     
Water Well Complaints

The New Hampshire Water Well Board receives complaints from the general public regarding work done installing or treating water wells in the state. To file a complaint, please fill out the Water Well Board Complaint Form.