Environmental Sanitation

Environmental Sanitation

  • Public Health Nuisance Complaints

The Health Department can only pursue health nuisances that are assigned to it by code or have a well-documented scientific history of transmitting disease that can be used to obtain a court injunctions.  A list of common nuisances and possible remedies;  the Marshall County Health Department does not have authority to act on all items.

Often People think that Public Health Authorities have the power to address any offensive condition, they classify as a health issue; that is not true. What can be addressed depends on laws assigned to public health. It also depends on the county. Larger counties tend to have more local codes and large staff allowing them to be involved in more issues then the smaller counties.

The general health nuisance complaint (IC 16-20-1-25) was updated recently to include:  A health officer shall provide a copy of a complaint upon request to the person who is the subject of the complaint.   A person who provides false information upon which a health officer relies in issuing an order under this section commits a Class C misdemeanor.

Written complaints – the code change supports this department policy of requiring a written complaint.

Anonymous complaints – maybe invalid if access to private property is required to document the issue. Anonymous complaints are given less priority

Two ways to file complaint:

Most complaints in Marshall County fall under general state codes with marginal and gray areas; The Marshall County Health Department has to make a determination:

  • Is it a ‘public health’ nuisance per code,
  • Is it significant enough to pursue,
  • Can the department prove the hazard, and
  • Will it make a credible court case?
    1. This department does not have the authority to issue tickets
    2. Fines can be recommended to the court.
  • If referred for legal action,
    1. It becomes the legal systems case and their determination on when and if it is pursued.
    2. If it is pursued the Judge makes the decision

Types of Complaints that are NOT a Health Nuisance:

  • Offensive odors
  • Accumulated junk
  • Weed patches
  • Poison ivy
  • Mud holes
  • Poor drainage
  • Line fences
  • Unfenced storm water retention ponds
  • Livestock or Poultry operations
  • Wild animals
  • Rental disputes
  • Barking dogs

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