In Hamilton County, the Air Pollution Control Board has primary enforcement authority for air pollution regulations, and the Bureau handles the day-to-day operations of the air pollution control program, including responding to citizen complaints. The Board shares enforcement authority with the U. S. EPA. Hamilton County has been granted a Certificate of Exemption, which means that the State of Tennessee has relinquished its primary authority to enforce air pollution regulations within Hamilton County and its included municipalities.
Bureau staffers answer all complaints received concerning possible visible emissions from area companies, burning, odors, and suspect asbestos materials. Complaints within Bureau jurisdiction are investigated, while those that are outside of our jurisdiction are referred to the appropriate agency or group. A copy of the written report resulting from our investigation is provided to all complainants who request one.
Citizens and industries are given the opportunity to comment on proposed changes in local air pollution regulations. Citizens who wish to become involved in the process are encouraged to get involved with their local governments and to talk with their city and county representatives about their views. Interested citizens are also invited to attend Air Pollution Control Board meetings. Board meetings are usually held on the first Monday of each month at 5:00 p.m. A meeting notice is published in the "Legal Notice" section of local newspapers during the week before each Board meeting.
Air Pollution Control Regulations
To receive and maintain a Certificate of Exemption from the State, which is renewable every two years, local governments must establish and enforce air pollution regulations that are at least as stringent as state regulations. Local programs are regularly audited by both the state and the EPA to ensure that air pollution regulations are being adequately enforced. In Tennessee, the metropolitan areas surrounding the cities of Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis also have Certificates of Exemption from state supervision. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation enforces air pollution regulations in the remaining 91 counties.
The Air Pollution Control Board and Bureau enforce air pollution regulations, but they do not make the laws. The Board recommends policies and regulations to local governments. Then, Hamilton County, the City of Chattanooga, and each municipality within Hamilton County decide whether to adopt recommended air pollution control regulations.