AIR AND WATER POLLUTION, INDUSTRIAL SAFETY/HAZARDS:
All requests/complaints regarding air and water pollution and industrial safety/hazards are promptly referred to the appropriate agency by this office
ANIMAL BITES AND RABIES CLINICS:
The Environmental Health Section works closely with municipal and county law enforcement agencies in responding to cases of animal bites. Suspected animals are confined and monitored during the detention period. Specimens of animals that have bitten or scratched a human and have subsequently been euthanized will be sent to the State Virology Laboratory to be checked for rabies. County-wide rabies clinics for cats and dogs are coordinated by this office in cooperation with local veterinarians.
CHEMICAL SPILL/EMERGENCY RESPONSE:
The Environmental Health Section maintains an emergency response team. When emergencies occur or after hour assistance is needed, the county's 911 Communication Center notifies a member of the Department's emergency response team by pager. Emergencies can include chemical spills, problems regarding hazardous waste, fires affecting food and institutional facilities, natural disasters and communicable disease outbreak reports.
CHILD CARE FACILITIES AND SCHOOL BUILDINGS:
Environmental Health Staff conduct sanitation inspections twice a year at child care facilities and once a year at school buildings.
COMMUNICABLE DISEASE INVESTIGATIONS:
Environmental Health staff members participate in the investigation of communicable diseases (including food-borne and waterborne illnesses) when the mode of transmission may be environmentally related. Disease prevention measures and methods of control are instituted when necessary.
FOOD SERVICE ESTABLISHMENTS:
There are over 275 Food Service Establishments operating in Rockingham County and the number is increasing every year. Environmental Health Staff issue permits for the operation of these establishments and are required to conduct over 800 establishment inspections per year to help maintain high levels of sanitation for the protection of public health. In addition, staff review plans for the construction of new establishments, the change of ownership of existing establishments and the remodeling of existing establishments. Environmental Health is also responsible for investigating complaints of insanitary conditions and poor food handling practices in these establishments and providing educational information to food service workers to help prevent food borne illnesses.
Regulated Food Service Establishments:
- Food Stands
- Meat Markets
- School Lunchrooms
- Adult Nutrition Stands
- Limited Food Stands
- Nursing Home Cafeterias
- Mobile Food Units
INDOOR AIR QUALITY:
Educational information is provided on common indoor air quality problems. Activated charcoal and alpha-track monitor radon gas test kits are available for purchase through our office.
Environmental Health Staff conduct sanitation inspections twice a year at hospitals and rest/nursing homes. Sanitation inspections are conducted once a year at residential care facilities, local confinement facilities, summer camps and adult day service facilities.
LEAD POISON PREVENTION IN CHILDREN:
Environmental Health staff work in conjunction with the Regional Environmental Health Specialist to conduct lead hazard investigations in child care facilities and any dwelling occupied by a child under the age of six with an elevated blood lead level, review and approve lead abatement/remediation plans and conduct lead abatement/remediation verification investigations.
Environmental Health Staff issue permits for hotels, motels and bed & breakfast facilities to operate and conduct sanitation inspections at least once a year.
MANUFACTURED HOME PARKS:
The Environmental Health Section is responsible for the enforcement of the Rockingham County Board of Health Manufactured Home Ordinance. Our personnel provide consultation, plan review and inspection services related to manufactured home park operations in our county.
MIGRANT LABOR HOUSING:
Upon request, the Environmental Health Section performs water supply and sewage disposal inspections of migrant housing. A copy of the inspection reported is forwarded to the North Carolina Department of Labor.
PUBLIC SWIMMING POOLS AND SPAS:
Public swimming pools are permitted annually and regularly inspected to determine if minimum safety and construction standards are maintained. During the inspection the following items are checked:
- water chemistry (pH, disinfection, alkalinity, calcium hardness and cyanuric acid)
- construction standards such as fencing, deck, ladders, steps, lighting
- life saving equipment such as body hooks, ring buoys, emergency telephone
- warning signs on decks such as depth markings, no diving signs
- pool circulation system (pump & filters)
- suction hazards
RODENT AND VECTOR CONTROL:
All complaints and questions regarding rodent and insect problems should be referred to the Environmental Health Section.
Environmental Health Specialists and Soil Scientists perform site evaluations to determine a property's suitability for ground absorption, sewage treatment and disposal systems. The installation of a septic tank system or alternative ground absorption system involves a three tier permitting process. Permits issued under this program include an Improvement Permit, an Authorization to Construct Permit and an Operation Permit. Fees are charged for various services with the exception of repairs to existing septic systems.
SOLID WASTE AND MANAGEMENT:
Rockingham County residents are encouraged to report incidences of unauthorized dumping to this office. All commercial vehicles used for the transportation of solid waste are subject to inspection annually by our Environmental Health Staff. Any suspected hazardous dumping or hazardous waste violations can be referred to our department. Our staff members coordinate their efforts with local and state agencies to achieve compliance of offenders.
Businesses that provide tattoo or permanent make-up services are required to have staff that have been permitted by Rockingham County. Tattoo Artists are required to apply annually for their permit and pay the permit fee. Once an application has been received, environmental health staff go to the business and conduct an inspection to ensure that minimum sanitation requirements have been met to prevent the spread of communicable diseases. Permits are tied to each individual artist and the address of the business. If an artist moves to a new business address, they must apply for a new permit.
TEMPORARY FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS:
Environmental Health Staff provide permits and sanitation inspections of food vendors at festivals and other public exhibitions. Food vendors must fill out an application and pay the permit fee prior to the event. On the day of the event, Environmental Health Staff go out to the event site to inspect all vendors who have applied for permits to ensure minimum sanitation requirements have been met before issuing a permit. Permits are good only for that event and events cannot exceed 15 days in length. Vendors may also be permitted the night before an event if prior arrangements have been made.
Staff is available for consultation on problems regarding water supplies, both private well and public supplies. Environmental Health provides a variety of water testing services for citizens who are served by well water. A fee is charged for this service.