Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Who's Protecting Your Environment?

LABELLE, FL. -- Some of the local services provided by the Environmental Division of the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties include:

Food and Waterborne Disease Investigations
Inspection of Public Pools, Mobile Home and Recreational Vehicle Parks, Food Establishments, and Group Care Facilities
Inspection of Tanning Facilities
Monitoring of Drinking Water Systems
Investigations of Groundwater Contamination
Institutional Inspections
Septic Tank Inspections
Monitoring Medical Waste
Rabid Animal Investigations
Regulation of Migrant Labor Housing
Drinking Water Lab

Environmental Health regulates private and small public water supplies by collecting and analyzing water samples for bacterial contamination, and permitting and inspecting well installations. We check for setback compliance, possible contaminant sources and proper well installation to prevent contamination.

Any Onsite wastewater treatment and disposal (septic) system installed or repaired in any county is required to have a permit. We will help to design the new system based on anticipated water use, type of soil at the site, proximity to surface water, and separation from the wet season groundwater elevation. Due to the high water tables in SW Florida, drain fields are elevated in a mound to prevent groundwater contamination.

Food programs in “not for profit” agencies, or adult care facilities (Schools and fraternal organizations) are licensed by us. Food safety inspections are conducted on a regular basis in these facilities. The Dept. of Business & Professional Regulation inspects restaurants however outbreaks of food illness, (regardless of the source) are investigated by Environmental Health.

Regulating the housing for Migrant Farmworkers and inspect for compliance with minimum housing standards, sanitary site conditions, overcrowding, safe water supply and sanitary wastewater disposal.

No one is allowed to house more than 4 unrelated migrant farmworkers without first obtaining a permit. Housing units are inspected a minimum of 8 times per year. Investigations are conducted routinely for unpermitted migrant housing.

Regulating and inspecting Mobile Home Parks and Recreational Vehicle Parks to ensure a safe and healthy environment for the residents, by checking for insect and rodent harborages, safe water supply and sanitary sewage disposal.

Public swimming pools and spas are licensed and monitored semi-annually for compliance with disinfection and safety regulations. If a pool is considered as “non-compliant”, the pool is closed.

Due to the risks associated with ultraviolet light, tanning salons are regulated and inspected. We check the facilities for safe operations and sanitary operations of the tanning beds and eye protection equipment.

When biomedical waste is improperly disposed of, it can create a significant health hazard for sanitation workers and the general public. We enforce rules for health practitioners who generate bio-hazardous waste, and provide education and supplies for “in-home” generated sharps (needle) disposal.

Because of the endemic nature of Rabies in Florida (raccoons and other wild mammal populations), we investigate all animal bite reports. A suspected animal will either be quarantined for ten days or euthanized and the brain sent to a lab to be analyzed for rabies infection. Rabies is considered a fatal disease when contracted by humans.

We also investigate and enforce abatement of sanitary nuisances which are considered a public health hazard. (This is a requirement by Florida Statute). This may include sewage on the ground, harborages for flies or rats, dead animals, and/or decomposing garbage.

The Environmental Health Division staff members are trained and knowledgeable about our communities. If you have any questions, or if you would like further information about Environmental Health Programs, please contact the Florida Department of Health in Hendry and Glades Counties at the following numbers: LaBelle & Clewiston (863) 674-4041 xt152 and Moore Haven (863) 946-0212 ext. 201

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