Our Environmental Health Specialists work diligently to protect the health of the public, by permitting and performing routine inspections of food handling establishments, lodging establishments, public pools and spas, and promoting child health. Staff also work to promote safe water, air quality, waste water treatment & disposal.
Children's Environmental Health Program
Our Children's Environmental Health Program supports several programs for the protection of children's health. Conditions could exist in such facilities that could lead to accidents, food-borne illnesses, or the spread of communicable diseases. Our Environmental Health Specialists inspects the following establishments:
The Children's Environmental Health Program also works with the State Regional Environmental Health Specialist with the lead program to do surveys of homes of children with elevated blood lead levels. Even small amounts of lead from old paint chips or leaded dust can cause harm, especially in children younger than six. A blood lead test is the only way to detect lead poisoning and is recommended in children 1 through 5. The lead test results may require remediation of the home, or require the family to move out.
Food & Lodging Institutions
The purpose of the Food & Lodging institutions program is to educate and protect the public's health and well being. Health Inspectors visit food and lodging establishments to enforce state and local government regulations. It is the responsibility of this unit to inform establishments about state regulations and encourage set standards in the interest of public health.
Our Food and Lodging program administers eighteen state regulated programs: restaurants, food stands, push carts, school lunchrooms, limited food stands, lodging, summer camps, bed and breakfast homes, bed and breakfast inns, meat markets,nursing homes, child day care, school buildings, local confinements, elderly nutrition sites, residential facilities, swimming pools and tattoo parlors. We also regulate seafood markets and free standing food establishments.
Inspection frequencies of these establishments range from annual to quarterly. Any establishment that prepares food or provides sleeping facilities receives a grade card after the inspection has been completed. The card shows a numerical grade along with the corresponding letter. This grade card must be visible upon entering the establishment and is to remain in public view at all times.
Prior to receiving a permit, an application and plan must be submitted. Our Environmental Health Specialists conduct a "plan review" and makes recommendations to the applicant. There is a fee charged for this service.
Our On-site Water Protection Program is responsible for activities associated with subsurface sewage collection, treatment and disposal and for activities associated with private drinking water wells.
On-site Wastewater Disposal Systems
A wastewater system involves the collection, treatment and disposal of wastewater in single or multiple components. These include privies, septic tank systems, community wastewater systems, wastewater reuse or recycle systems, mechanical or biological wastewater treatment systems and any chemical toilet used only for human waste. A person owning or controlling a residence, place of business or place of public assembly shall provide an approved wastewater system. We regulate the installation, collection, treatment and disposal of onsite wastewater systems in order to render them ecologically safe and to protect public health.
Private Drinking Water Wells
A private drinking water well must be sited and permitted by the EHS before it can be installed. The well must be inspected when it is installed and grouted. The well must also be sampled after the construction is completed.
There is an annual permit required to operate a public swimming pool, spa, or wading pool. An application must be filed with the Environmental Health Services Office along with the fee before an operation permit is issued. The permit must be renewed each year.
There are two classifications of pools: year round and seasonal.
Year round pools require two inspections per year by our Environmental Health Specialists and are permitted from January 1 through December 31 each year.
Seasonal pools are permitted from April 1 through October 31. Seasonal pools require one inspection during the operation season by our Environmental Health Specialists.
Tattooing is defined as "the inserting of permanent markings or coloration, or the producing of scars, upon or under human skin through puncturing by use of a needle or any other method." North Carolina tattoo rules require tattoo and permanent makeup artists to meet certain minimum sanitation standards in order to obtain a permit.
The permit is issued to a specific artist at a specific location. The studio and the individual artist must both meet regulations. An artist who practices at more than one studio, or who moves to another studio, must get a new permit at each location. Apprentices cannot work under an artist's permit; they must have their own permits. The permit must be renewed each year.