Noise Pollution

Frequently Asked Questions for Local Government

This page provides answers to the most frequently asked questions the Department of Ecology (Ecology) receives from local government about noise pollution and was prepared in conjunction with the Office of Regulatory Assistance.

Q: What is the role of local government in regulating noise?

A: There are three roles that local government may have in regulating noise:

  1. Adopt a local noise ordinance to set noise standards for their area.
  2. Enforce the local noise ordinance.
  3. If no local noise ordinance exists, enforce Ecology’s rules.

Q: Can a local government adopt a local noise ordinance?

A: Yes. Local governments can do any of the following:

  1. Use Ecology’s rules;
  2. Adopt a local noise ordinance that includes:

Q: What if the local noise ordinance is different from Ecology’s rules?

A: When the local noise ordinance is different, the standards and limits in the local noise ordinance will apply. If something is not covered by the local ordinance, then Ecology’s rules (Chapter 173-58, 173-60, 173-62 WAC) will apply. Any ordinance differing from Ecology’s rules must be submitted to Ecology for approval

Q: Do local noise ordinances need to be submitted to Ecology?

A: The only time a local noise ordinance needs to be submitted to Ecology is when it is different from Ecology’s rules. However, Ecology will appreciate receiving copies of all local noise ordinances.

Q: Where do local governments submit their noise ordinances?

A: Department of Ecology
     Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program
     P.O. Box 47600
     Olympia, WA 98504-7600