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The primary responsibility of the Air Quality Management Division is to achieve and maintain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards in Knox County, for all criteria pollutants designed to protect health and welfare, as set by local and federal law.

This is accomplished through the following activities: the continuous monitoring of the ambient air to determine air quality levels; issuance of health alerts concerning air quality; permitting of industrial air contaminant sources; review of industrial source testing, computer modeling of air pollution dispersion; and air toxics evaluation and control. The department also performs compliance and complaint investigations, issues residential open burning permits and provides technical and educational services.

Burning Leaves

Open Burning: General Information

The smoke from a fire may not bother you but it could be a real problem and a serious health threat for your neighbors. Violations can result in substantial penalties. If you have any questions, or would like to report a suspected open burning incident, contact your Knox County Air Quality Office. Click here for more information on Open burning in Knox County.

The Knox County Department of Air Quality Management (Department) has implemented a different method of permitting for specific source categories called Permit-by-rule (PBR). To utilize a PBR, the facility would submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to construct/operate an eligible source according to the PBR. The Department would then issue a Notice of Authorization (NOA), confirming authorization to construct, modify, or operate the eligible source under the PBR. The NOA takes the place of a construction and operating permit written specifically for the source. The PBR option is available for the following source categories:

  • Gasoline dispensing facilities (GDFs) 
  • Emergency stationary internal combustion engines where the total heat input rate of all the engines at the facility does not exceed 4.5 MMBtu/hr (642 bhp)
  • Auto body refinishing operations that does not complete more than 50 jobs per week

Click here for the NOI forms and other PBR documents.

Air Quality Index
Levels of Health Concern
Good 0 to 50 Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk
Moderate 51 to 100 Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups 101 to 150 Members of sensitive groups may experience health effects. The general public is not likely to be affected.
Unhealthy 151 to 200 Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.
Very Unhealthy 201 to 300 Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects
Hazardous 301 to 500 Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

Air Quality

Main Office
Suite 242
140 Dameron Ave,
Knoxville, TN 37917

865-215-5900 phone
865-215-5902 fax
865-215-2497 tdd

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Department Email