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This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.

There are three types of pollution in Cities: Skylines; ground, water, and sound pollution. Ground and water pollution share one info view, while sound pollution has a separate info view

Ground pollution[edit]

The ground and water pollution info view

Ground pollution is caused mainly by industry, while the farming and forestry industry specializations don't cause ground pollution at all. Some of the Farm Area and Forestry Area buildings from the Industries DLC do create some pollution. It is also caused by other polluting buildings, such as fossil-fuel power stations and incinerators. Pollution will affect the ground immediately underneath the polluting buildings, as well a small surrounding area. Even if the source of the pollution is removed, it will take some time for the ground to return to an unpolluted state. If non-polluting buildings have uncollected garbage for a long time, they will also pollute the ground.

Ground pollution can be observed as discoloured ground, as well as in the pollution info view. Residential zones should not overlap with polluted areas as Cims who live on polluted ground will get sick. Water towers should definitely be kept away from such areas, otherwise the pollution will contaminate the water supply and cause a city-wide health crisis.

Water pollution[edit]

Main article: Water and sewage

Virtually all buildings produce sewage. Assuming you have have a decent water grid, this sewage causes no issues for these buildings, instead it is transported through your pipes to an outflow where the polluted sewage is drained into a body of water. Water drain pipes are the simplest option for this drainage.

Water downstream of these outflows will be discoloured, indicating its polluted nature. Water pollution and its sources are also viewable in the same info view as for ground pollution. A poorly-position pumping station can pump polluted water back into the water supply network, which will make cims sick city-wide. It is therefore very important to place pumping stations upstream of the drainage.

Water treatment plants function similarly to water drain pipes, but eliminate 85% of the pollution from the sewage prior to disposal. Thus means there is still pollution in the water, and this water should be avoided as possible.

The only way to not produce water pollution is to avoid water consumption …

A Floating Garbage Collector filters pollution out of bodies of water.

Building pipes under a polluted area has no detrimental effect.

Noise pollution[edit]

The noise pollution info view

Traffic, industry, commercial zones, and various buildings (such as power plants and unique buildings) cause sound pollution. When placing a noisy building, a circle will appear showing the area which will be affected by the noise. The heavier the traffic, the heavier the noise. Each vehicle has a noise pollution rating, so the amount of traffic noise is dependent not only on how much traffic is present on the road but also what types of vehicles. Large trucks will typically be noisy, while electric cars tend to be fairly quiet. Policies to encourage electric car use can help reduce traffic noise. Biofuel buses have a lower noise rating than standard buses.

A road and railway without traffic do not generate noise pollution. Still, roads with trees and highways with sound barriers will reduce their noise impact. Roads under the ground will also completely suppress their noise pollution. But, elevated roads will increase noise pollution.

This pollution can be seen graphically on the noise pollution info view, which shows both the emitters of noise pollution and the areas most impacted by this. A high level of noise pollution reduces the land value and citizen happiness. Citizens exposed to the most severe noise pollution will get sick and eventually die if noise pollution increases.

Trees will reduce noise pollution, but must be used in large numbers to see a significant effect.[1]


Citizens don't like to live near pollution. It makes them unhappy and decreases their health, it also lowers land value around polluted land. Pollution can no longer be decreased by planting trees in polluted areas. Sound pollution produced by roads can be lowered by upgrading them; sound barriers for motorways, and trees for normal roads. Placing offices will reduce the amount of sound pollution. Buildings producing noise or ground pollution should be moved away from residential areas.


  1. Forum: Parklife Dev Diary #4: Maps and tree noise reduction - CO Emmi (Colossal Order), 2018-05-15