California Noise Control Act

California Health and Safety Code
Sections 46000 - 46080

(Current as of Sept. 20, 2001)

46000.  The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:
   (a) Excessive noise is a serious hazard to the public health and
   (b) Exposure to certain levels of noise can result in
physiological, psychological, and economic damage.
   (c) There is a continuous and increasing bombardment of noise in
the urban, suburban, and rural areas.
   (d) Government has not taken the steps necessary to provide for
the control, abatement, and prevention of unwanted and hazardous
   (e) The State of California has a responsibility to protect the
health and welfare of its citizens by the control, prevention, and
abatement of noise.
   (f) All Californians are entitled to a peaceful and quiet
environment without the intrusion of noise which may be hazardous to
their health or welfare.
   (g) It is the policy of the state to provide an environment for
all Californians free from noise that jeopardizes their health or
welfare.  To that end it is the purpose of this division to establish
a means for effective coordination of state activities in noise
control and to take such action as will be necessary to achieve the
purposes of this section.

46001.  No provision of this division or ruling of the Office of
Noise Control is a limitation or expansion:
   (a) On the power of a city, county, or city and county to adopt
and enforce additional regulations, not in conflict therewith,
imposing further conditions, restrictions, or limitations.
   (b) On the power of any city, county, or city and county to
declare, prohibit, and abate nuisances.
   (c) On the power of the Attorney General, at the request of the
office, the state department, or upon his own motion to bring an
action in the name of the people of the State of California to enjoin
any pollution or nuisance or to protect the natural resources of the
   (d) On the power of a state agency in the enforcement or
administration of any provision of law which it is specifically
permitted or required to enforce or administer.
   (e) On the right of any person to maintain at any time any
appropriate action for relief against any private nuisance as defined
in the Civil Code or for relief against any noise pollution.

46002.  Nothing in this division shall be construed as giving the
Office of Noise Control authority or responsibility for adopting or
enforcing noise-emission standards for any product for which a
regulation has been, or could be, prescribed or promulgated by the
Environmental Protection Agency under the Noise Control Act of 1972.

46010.  This division shall be known and may be cited as the
California Noise Control Act of 1973.

46020.  Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions set
forth in this chapter govern the construction of the words used in
this division.

46021.  "Local agency" means and includes every local agency,
including a county, city, whether general law or chartered, city and
county, school district, municipal corporation, district, political
subdivision, or any board, commission or agency thereof, or other
local public agency.

46022.  "Noise" means and includes excessive undesirable sound,
including that produced by persons, pets and livestock, industrial
equipment, construction, motor vehicles, boats, aircraft, home
appliances, electric motors, combustion engines, and any other
noise-producing objects.

46023.  "Office" means the Office of Noise Control.

46024.  "Public agency" means and includes every state agency and
every local agency.

46025.  "State agency" means and includes every state office,
officer, department, division, bureau, board, council, commission, or
other state agency.

46040.  There is within the state department an Office of Noise

46050.  The office shall, in order to protect health and well-being
establish and maintain a program on noise control, including but not
limited to:
   (a) Determining the psychological and physical health effects of
   (b) Determining the physiological effects of noise upon plant and
animal life.
   (c) Monitoring noise.
   (d) Collecting and disseminating authoritative information on
adverse effects of noise and of means for its control.
   (e) Developing, in cooperation with local governments, model
ordinances for urban, suburban, and rural environments.
   (f) Providing assistance to local governmental entities engaged in
developing and implementing noise abatement procedures.
   (g) Developing criteria and guidelines for use in setting
standards for human exposure to noise.
   (h) Developing standards for the use of noise-producing objects in
   (i) Developing criteria for submission to the Legislature so that
state agencies may require noise control in equipment purchased for
state use.

46050.1.  Notwithstanding Section 65040.2 of the Government Code,
the office shall adopt, in coordination with the Office of Planning
and Research and each state department and agency as it deems
appropriate, guidelines for the preparation and content of noise
elements as required by Section 65302 of the Government Code.
   In adding Section 39850.1 to the Health and Safety Code, which was
the predecessor to this section, and amending Section 65302 of the
Government Code by Chapter 1124 of the Statutes of 1975, it was the
intent of the Legislature to ensure, insofar as possible, that new
and periodically revised noise elements in local governments' general
plans be more standardized, comprehensive, and utilitarian than they
had been previously.
   However, the Legislature also recognized that some cities and
counties had already adopted noise elements pursuant to the existing
Section 65302 of the Government Code and that others had received
extensions on the due date of their noise element until September 20,
1975.  Those cities and counties were not required to resubmit new
noise elements consistent with Section 65302 of the Government Code,
or to recognize guidelines adopted pursuant to this section, but are
required, upon initial and periodic revision of the noise element, to
comply with Section 65302 of the Government Code and to recognize
those guidelines.
   The requirement that the office adopt guidelines for the
preparation and content of noise elements shall be inoperative during
the 1993-94 fiscal year.

46060.  It is the purpose of this chapter to encourage the enactment
and enforcement of local ordinances in those areas which are most
properly the responsibility of local government.  It is further the
purpose to insure that the state is of maximum assistance to local
agencies in the discharge of those responsibilities, furnishing
technical and legal expertise to assist local agencies in the
enactment and enforcement of meaningful and technically sufficient
noise abatement measures.

46061.  The office shall provide technical assistance to local
agencies in combating noise pollution.  Such assistance shall include
but not be limited to:
   (a) Advice concerning methods of noise abatement and control.
   (b) Advice on training of noise control personnel.
   (c) Advice on selection and operation of noise abatement

46062.  The office shall provide assistance to local agencies in the
preparation of model ordinances to control and abate noise.  Such
ordinances shall be developed in consultation with the Attorney
General and with representatives of local agencies, including the
County Supervisors Association of California and the League of
California Cities.  Any local agency which adopts any noise control
ordinance shall promptly furnish a copy to the office.

46070.  The director shall promote coordination of the programs of
all state agencies relating to noise research, abatement, prevention,
and control. Each state agency shall, upon request, furnish to the
director such information as he may reasonably require to determine
the nature, scope, and results of the noise research and noise
control programs of the agency.

46071.  On the basis of regular consultation with appropriate state
agencies, the director shall compile and publish, from time to time,
a report on the status and progress of state activities relating to
noise research and noise control.  This report shall describe the
noise programs of each state agency and assess the contributions of
those programs to the state's overall efforts to control noise.

46072.  In any case where any state agency is carrying out or
sponsoring any activity resulting in noise which the director
determines amounts to a public nuisance or is otherwise
objectionable, such agency shall consult with the director to
determine possible means of abating such noise.  This section does
not apply to any action of a private person for which a license,
permit, or other entitlement for use is required to be issued by a
state agency.

46073.  The Legislature authorizes and directs that all state
agencies shall, to the fullest extent consistent with existing
authority, administer the programs within their control in such a
manner as to further the policy declared in Section 46000.  This
section shall not be construed to limit or expand the authority of
any state agency to issue or deny a license, permit, or other
entitlement for use.

46074.  Each state agency authorized to adopt regulations in the
area of noise control shall in the manner specified in subdivision
(c) of Section 11423 of the Government Code give notice to and invite
the comments of the office concerning any proposed adoption,
amendment, or repeal of a regulation in the area of noise control.

46075.  In accordance with the provisions of Section 11426 of the
Government Code or other applicable law, the office may petition any
public agency for the adoption of regulations or other measures
otherwise within the authority of that public agency in the area of
noise control.

46076.  The Office of Noise Control shall maintain a program to
insure that all state agencies are advised of available federal
assistance and funds for noise control programs.  The office may, at
the request of individual agencies, act for them for the following
   (a) Applying for federal funds which may be made available to the
states for noise control programs or related research as a result of
the Noise Control Act of 1972 (P.L. 92-574) or any other federal
program or law.
   (b) Receiving technical assistance from the Environmental
Protection Agency to facilitate the development and enforcement of
state noise standards and model noise legislation.

46077.  The office shall maintain a program to ensure coordinated
state and federal noise control programs including, but not limited
to, the following:
   (a) The study of federal noise regulations proposed for adoption
pursuant to the Noise Control Act of 1972.
   (b) The preparation of comments, evaluations, objections or the
use of any other means to ensure that the federal government
considers existing California noise control statutes and regulations
prior to the adoption of regulations in order to prevent the adoption
of federal noise regulation weaker than existing state standards.
   (c) The preparation of reports to the Legislature containing
recommendations for legislation necessitated by the adoption of
federal noise regulations pursuant to the Noise Control Act of 1972.

46080.  In furtherance of his responsibilities under this division
and to complement, as necessary, the noise research programs of
federal agencies and of other state agencies, the director is
authorized to:
   (a) Conduct research, and finance research by contract with other
public and private bodies, on the effects, measurement, and control
of noise, including but not limited to:
   (1) Investigation of the psychological and physiological effects
of noise on humans and the effects of noise on domestic animals,
wildlife, and property, and determination of acceptable levels of
noise on the basis of such effects.
   (2) Development of improved methods and standards for measurement
and monitoring of noise.
   (3) Determination of the most effective and practicable means of
controlling noise generation, transmission, and reception.
   (b) Coordinate with and become knowledgeable concerning the noise
research programs of other governmental entities including the
federal government.
   (c) Disseminate to the public information on the effects of noise,
acceptable noise levels, and techniques for noise measurement and