Types of Public Health Nuisances
Alphabetical list of issues
Air pollution – Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has primary jurisdiction. This department may do initial investigation and refer to IDEM
Open Burning – The health department will send out an initial letter, enforcement is by IDEM.
Dead Animal – Disposal Board of Animal Health for large domestic animals
Cockroaches – are a nuisance and can contribute to asthma, health department can take some limited action on an infestation.
Food – Health department does inspect food establishments and follows up on food complaints.
Food borne illness will require follow up interviews, most food borne illness take 8 to 72 hours to develop; often the time frame excludes the last meal one ate.
Floods – homeowner rehabilitation – State has information to help homeowners with the flood aftermath
County Garbage and Trash or Open Dumping – Health department and Zoning can pursue this- it often becomes a judgment call as to taking legal action. Often these are cleaned up and the complaint is closed. The department needs a new complaint if the conditions deteriorate again.
Hotel and motels – no code on these establishments which limits authority- health department can investigate using general nuisance codes
Housing & rentals– there is no housing code in the county: see housing for general information
Landlord/Tenant -Indiana Codes has land lord and tenant responsibilities.
Lead can permanently and irreversibly damage the developing brain and other organs of young children. In 1978 lead was removed from paint and many older homes have lead issues. The health department does follow up on children with a high blood lead levels.
Meth – State police notify the health department of a bust, under an IDEM rule the property is to be decontaminated before lived in or sold. The State Board of Health has instructed the local health department to condemn the property until clean up occurs. The Indiana State Police list all properties not just residences on its web site.
Mobile home parks, campgrounds – This is a state program. County health department will forward complaints to ISDH or you can submit online to ISDH.
ISDH – Mold and CDC – Mold – There is no standard that indicates mold is too high or is a violation; mold produces non-specific health symptoms. Without a doctor’s statement, the health department is very limited on any enforcement. More Information on mold
Mosquitoes -are mainly an education program and self-protection– only a few mosquitoes transmit disease and these usually become an issue late in the summer.
Odors – by themselves are not a health hazard
Sewage (septic) disposal –
- Pools – must submit weekly water samples and fall under Indiana code
- Beaches – City of Culver tests its beach
- Other beaches are private and tested by campground or organization that owns them
Radon – The health department does not have a radon program. State has certified testing agencies and clean up contractors
CDC – Rodents or ISDH – Rats – Health department will investigate. By code the property owner is responsible for extermination. Rats will stay where there is food and water: garbage and animal food. Rats are known to steal dog food and water out of the dish and area smart enough to avoid the dog.
Tattoo/Piercings -– the state code is complaint driven; and there is no requirement to notify the health department that they are in business. Health department will investigate complaints.
Unsafe buildings – there is a county code; most of the violations require a building inspector. Often the property is made safe and secure and the complaint is closed. The department needs a new complaint if the conditions deteriorate again. Tearing it down is a long process.
Water testing – the health department does not test water. See a list of laboratories that do testing; one must use the laboratory bottles. Most testing is for bacteria which is fairly inexpensive. Chemical testing becomes specific to the chemicals and can be expensive. Water testing labs
Wells – there is no county code on wells, residential wells are to be 50 from a septic. IDEM monitors public and semi-public water supplies. The flood link has information on disinfecting wells.
Other Nuisances – health departments Do Not have the power to address any offensive condition. What can be addressed depends on laws assigned to public health, and any county codes that have been passed on health nuisances. You can fill out a complaint form and a determination will be made on the subject matter.