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Department Head: Lynne A. Liddington


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.

Open Burning Permit Now Available Online
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.

Knox county air quality update

For Knox County's air quality, there's good news and bad news. The good news is that all the air isn't unhealthy. In fact, today most areas are in the Green or good range. However, the air within the areas impacted by smoke from the mulch fire near downtown is unhealthy. And the affected area changes with weather and wind patterns that move the smoke through the air.

This is important because where there is smoke, the air quality is unhealthy. If the air where you are looks smoky or if you can smell smoke, the air quality is poor. In the affected areas, Knox County Health Department officials recommend that everyone should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion outside. In smoky areas, the public is advised to stay inside with the air conditioning on and set to recirculate inside air, if the unit permits. For more information, please click here

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