CHAPTER 442

NOISE POLLUTION CONTROL

Table of Contents

Sec. 22a-67. State policy regarding noise.

Sec. 22a-68. Definitions.

Sec. 22a-69. State-wide program of noise regulation.

Sec. 22a-70. Duties and powers of the commissioner.

Sec. 22a-71. Commissioner’s report to Governor and General Assembly.

Sec. 22a-72. Cooperation of state agencies, review of regulations.

Sec. 22a-73. Municipal noise regulation programs; ordinances subject to commissioner’s approval.

Sec. 22a-74. Prohibited acts.

Sec. 22a-74a. Exemption of firing and shooting ranges from criminal and civil liability for noise and noise pollution.

Sec. 22a-75. Civil penalties.

Sec. 22a-76. Provisions and remedies not exclusive of others.


Sec. 22a-67. State policy regarding noise. (a) The legislature finds and declares that: (1) Excessive noise is a serious hazard to the health, welfare and quality of life of the citizens of the state of Connecticut; (2) exposure to certain levels of noise can result in physiological, psychological and economic damage; (3) a substantial body of science and technology exists by which excessive noise may be substantially abated; (4) the primary responsibility for control of noise rests with the state and the political subdivisions thereof; (5) each person has a right to an environment free from noise that may jeopardize his health, safety or welfare.

(b) The policy of the state is to promote an environment free from noise that jeopardizes the health and welfare of the citizens of the state of Connecticut. To that end, the purpose of this chapter is to establish a means for effective coordination of research and activities in noise control, to authorize the establishment of state noise emission standards and the enforcement of such standards, and to provide information to the public respecting noise pollution.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 1, 12.)

Legislature has undertaken to preempt field of legislation re noise pollution control in Sec. 22a-67 et seq. and to require that local efforts aimed at noise pollution control comply with requirements it has enumerated by statute. 76 CA 199.

Sec. 22a-68. Definitions. As used in this chapter:

(a) “Commissioner” means the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection or his designated agent as defined in subsection (a) of section 22a-2.

(b) “Department” means the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

(c) “Local government” means any metropolitan district, town, consolidated town and borough, city, borough, village or any subdivision thereof.

(d) “Person” means “person” as defined in subsection (b) of section 22a-2.

(e) “Noise” means the intensity, frequency, duration and character of sounds from a source or number of sources. Noise includes vibrations of subaudible or superaudible frequency.

(f) “Ambient noise” or “environmental noise” shall mean the noise from all stationary sources.

(g) “Stationary noise source” means any building, structure, facility or installation which emits or may emit noise, beyond the property line on which such source is located, except any on-site recreational or sporting activity which is sanctioned by the state or local government or farming equipment or farming activity. A recreational or sporting activity shall be deemed sanctioned by a local government if (1) the activity has received all approvals or permits required by the local zoning authority, (2) a resolution sanctioning the activity has been adopted by the legislative body of the local government, or (3) the activity is owned or operated by the local government.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 2, 12; P.A. 89-277, S. 3, 4; P.A. 11-80, S. 1.)

History: P.A. 89-277 redefined “stationary noise source” to specify the circumstances when a recreational or sporting activity shall be deemed to be sanctioned by a local government; pursuant to P.A. 11-80, “Commissioner of Environmental Protection” and “Department of Environmental Protection” were changed editorially by the Revisors to “Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection” and “Department of Energy and Environmental Protection”, respectively, effective July 1, 2011.

Sec. 22a-69. State-wide program of noise regulation. (a) The commissioner may develop, adopt, maintain and enforce a comprehensive state-wide program of noise regulation which may include, but need not be limited to the following: (1) Controls on environmental noise through the regulation and restriction of the use and operation of any stationary noise source; (2) ambient noise standards for stationary noise sources which in the commissioner’s judgment are major sources of noise when measured from beyond the property line of such source and such standards shall be feasible and requisite to protect the public health, safety and welfare; such standards may include, but need not be limited to, adoption by reference of standards or regulations adopted by the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Noise Control Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-574) or any amendment thereto; (3) consultation with state and local governmental agencies when such agencies adopt and enforce codes, standards and regulations dealing with noise insulation and abatement for any occupancy or class of occupancy; (4) controls on airport and aircraft noise to the extent not preempted by federal law; nor shall the state preempt power of local governments, in their capacity as proprietors of airports or under police powers.

(b) (1) Any regulation promulgated pursuant to this chapter shall be adopted pursuant to chapter 54 and shall be one which, in the judgment of the commissioner, is requisite to protect the public health, safety and welfare, taking into account the magnitude and conditions of use or operation of the stationary noise source involved, alone or in combination with other such sources, the degree of noise reduction achievable through the application of the best available and practical technology, taking into consideration technology which may be available at the time the regulation becomes effective.

(2) Regulations promulgated pursuant to the authority of this chapter may be applicable throughout the state or to such parts or regions thereof specifically designated in such regulations.

(3) The commissioner shall adopt regulations providing for the granting of individual variances from the provisions of this chapter, whenever it is found, upon presentation by the petitioner of adequate proof, that compliance with any provision of this chapter, any regulation promulgated under it or an order of the commissioner would impose an arbitrary or unreasonable hardship.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 4, 12; June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-10, S. 13, 20.)

History: June Sp. Sess. P.A. 91-10 amended Subsec. (a) to make the commissioner’s powers and duties under this section discretionary.

Sec. 22a-70. Duties and powers of the commissioner. In order to carry out the purposes of this chapter, the commissioner may:

(a) Exercise all powers granted to him under section 22a-6;

(b) Provide technical assistance to other state agencies and to political subdivisions of this state;

(c) Conduct programs of public education regarding the causes and effects of noise and means for its abatement and control and encourage the participation of professional, scientific, conservation and other public interest groups in related public information efforts;

(d) Cooperate with all federal, interstate, state and local governments relating to the control, prevention and abatement of noise;

(e) Receive and disburse all appropriate funds pertaining to the state’s noise control program from private and public sources;

(f) Appoint such advisory groups and committees as may be necessary to assist in carrying out the state noise control program;

(g) Investigate complaints, institute and conduct surveys and testing programs, conduct general ambient noise sampling programs, make observations of conditions which may or do cause or affect noise pollution and make tests or other determinations of noise sources and assess the degree of abatement required.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 5, 12.)

Sec. 22a-71. Commissioner’s report to Governor and General Assembly. The commissioner shall report to the Governor and the General Assembly not later than February 15, 1975, his recommendations for further executive and legislative action. Such recommendations shall include:

(a) The feasibility of adopting a program of state certification of products determined to be low noise emission products, including products certified by the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to Section 15 of the Noise Control Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-574) or any amendment thereto;

(b) The feasibility of adopting a program establishing labeling requirements which prohibit the sale or offer to sell or the lease or offer to lease of any product, machine or equipment, or class thereof, without notice to the prospective purchaser, lessee or user of the noise levels and characteristics emitted by such product, machine, vehicle or equipment, or its effectiveness in reducing noise, as the case may be. Labeling requirements may be in conformity with federal labeling requirements where applicable;

(c) Other recommendations for executive and legislative action needed to carry out a state-wide program of noise abatement.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 6, 12.)

Sec. 22a-72. Cooperation of state agencies, review of regulations. (a) State agencies shall, to the fullest extent consistent with their authorities under state law administered by them, carry out the programs within their control in such a manner as to further the policy stated in section 22a-67.

(b) State agencies shall cooperate with the commissioner in a state program of noise regulation developed and maintained under this chapter.

(c) Each department, agency or instrumentality of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government of this state, (1) having jurisdiction over any property or facility, or (2) engaged in any activity resulting, or which may result in the emission of noise, shall comply with federal and state requirements respecting control and abatement of environmental noise.

(d) Each state agency shall consult with the commissioner in prescribing standards or regulations respecting noise. If at any time the commissioner has reason to believe that a standard or regulation or any proposed standard or regulation, of any agency respecting noise does not protect the public health and welfare to the extent he believes to be required and feasible, he may request such agency to review and report to him on the advisability of revising such standard or regulation to provide such protection. Such agency shall complete the requested review and report to the commissioner within such time as the commissioner specifies, but such time specified may not be less than forty-five days from the date the request was made.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 3, 12.)

Sec. 22a-73. Municipal noise regulation programs; ordinances subject to commissioner’s approval. (a) To carry out and effectuate the purposes and policies of this chapter it is the public policy of the state to encourage municipal participation by means of regulation of activities causing noise pollution within the territorial limits of the various municipalities. To that end, any municipality may develop and establish a comprehensive program of noise regulation. Such program may include a study of the noise problems resulting from uses and activities within its jurisdiction and its development and adoption of a noise control ordinance.

(b) Any municipality may adopt, amend and enforce a noise control ordinance which may include the following: (1) Noise levels which will not be exceeded in specified zones or other designated areas; (2) designation of a noise control officer and the designation of an existing board or commission, or the establishment of a new board or commission to direct such program; (3) implementation procedures of such program and the relation of such program to other plans within the jurisdiction of the municipality; (4) procedures for assuring compliance with state and federal noise regulations; (5) noise level restrictions applicable to construction activities, including limitation on on-site hours of operation.

(c) No ordinance shall be effective until such ordinance has been approved by the commissioner. No ordinance shall be approved unless it is in conformity with any state noise control plan, including ambient noise standards, adopted pursuant to section 22a-69 or any standards or regulations adopted by the administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to the Noise Control Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-574) or any amendment thereto. Notwithstanding the provisions of this subsection, any municipality may adopt more stringent noise standards than those adopted by the commissioner, provided such standards are approved by the commissioner.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 7, 12.)

Sec. 22a-74. Prohibited acts. It shall be unlawful for any person to:

(a) Violate or fail to comply with this chapter or any regulation adopted pursuant thereto, or the terms or conditions of any permit, variance or order issued pursuant to this chapter or pursuant to any regulation adopted hereunder.

(b) Hinder or interfere with by force or otherwise, the performance by the commissioner or by any duly authorized agent or employee of the department or their assistants, of any duty of said commissioner or such agent or employee under the provisions of this chapter.

(c) On any property or premises owned or leased by such person, allow the creation, continuance or maintenance of any noise, or allow the installation, use or operation of any stationary noise source, which violates or fails to comply with this chapter, or any regulation adopted pursuant to this chapter, or the terms or conditions of any permit, variance or order issued pursuant to this chapter or pursuant to any regulation adopted hereunder.

(d) Intentionally remove or render inoperable, other than for purposes of normal maintenance, repair or replacement, any device or element of design installed into any stationary noise source to achieve compliance with the provisions of this chapter, or to use or operate after such device or element of design has been removed or rendered inoperable with knowledge of such removal or of such rendering inoperable of such device or element of design.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 8, 12.)

Sec. 22a-74a. Exemption of firing and shooting ranges from criminal and civil liability for noise and noise pollution. (a) Any owner, operator or user of a firing or shooting range operating on October 1, 1998, shall be exempt from criminal prosecution with respect to noise or noise pollution violations and immune from civil liability with respect to noise or noise pollution resulting from shooting activity on such range provided the range was, at the time of its construction or operational approval by the municipality in which it is located, in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and regulations adopted hereunder.

(b) No standards in a noise control ordinance adopted by any municipality for limiting levels of noise in terms of decibel level which may occur in the outdoor atmosphere shall apply to any firing or shooting range exempted from liability under this section if such standards are inconsistent with the provisions of this chapter or the regulations adopted hereunder.

(c) This section shall not limit the ability of a municipality to evaluate and regulate any increase in noise attributable to a physical expansion of an existing firing or shooting range.

(P.A. 98-129, S. 16.)

Sec. 22a-75. Civil penalties. The commissioner may set schedules and assess civil penalties for any violation of this chapter pursuant to sections 22a-6a and 22a-6b. Notice, hearing and appeal procedures shall be made pursuant to subsections (c) to (h), inclusive, of section 22a-6b.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 9, 12; P.A. 93-428, S. 36, 39.)

History: P.A. 93-428 made technical changes to correct internal references, effective July 1, 1993.

Sec. 22a-76. Provisions and remedies not exclusive of others. The provisions and remedies under this chapter are not exclusive and shall be in addition to any other provisions and remedies provided for in any section of the general statutes or which are available under common law.

(P.A. 74-328, S. 10, 12.)