The environmental section of the Tri-County Health Department performs a variety of services to the counties.  These services include inspections and training for retail food establishments and processors, licensed daycares, and lodging facilities.

We provide consultation relating to other environmental concerns including lead, indoor air quality and rabies.

Staff provides information relating to on-site sewage systems and issues on-site sewage construction permits as required by state law.

The section also conducts lead risk assessments of housing under state contract for individuals identified with elevated blood lead levels.

Click on links for more information relating to individual programs or feel free to contact us from the information below.

 

INDOOR AIR

Radon
Radon is considered to be the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S. Radon is a gaseous radioactive element that occurs from the natural breakdown of uranium in rocks and soil. It is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Radon becomes a risk indoors because as it continues to break down, it emits atomic particles that upon entering the lungs can alter DNA and increase lung cancer risk. Radon can be tested and measured in pCi/L (pico curies per liter) and there are established risks to health from the exposure depending on the concentration. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MO DHSS) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommend that if the concentration of radon is 4 pCi/L or greater, then remediation should be done to lower risk.

MO DHSS is currently offering free radon kits for citizens by clicking on the free radon kit link below and filling out the form. Also for more information go to the Citizens Guide to Radon.

Mold
Mold is found both indoors and outdoors and is present everywhere - in the air and on surfaces. Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, heating and air conditioning systems, etc. Mold will then grow in places with a lot of moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been flooding. Mold grows well on paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood products. Mold can also grow in paints, wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, fabric, and upholstery.

Exposure to damp and moldy environments may cause a variety of health effects or none at all depending on a person's sensitivity. For those who are sensitive, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritations, coughing or wheezing, eye and in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more serious reactions.

Things you can do inside your home to control mold growth is:

Mold Guide

 

LEAD
Where lead is found:
Generally, the older the home, the more likely lead-based paint is present. The federal government banned lead-based paint in housing in 1978. Lead can be present in the soil around the home where it can be tracked inside. Lead can also be found in household dust from deterioration of lead-based paint and remodeling or renovation projects.

How does lead enter the body:
The most common way that lead enters the body, especially in children, is by placing hands or other objects contaminated with lead dust in the mouth. Another method is by breathing in lead dust, especially during renovations. Finally, eating paint chips or soil that contains lead.

Health effects of lead:
Increased lead levels in people can cause a variety of problems including nervous system and kidney damage, learning disabilities, speech and behavior problems, decreased muscle and bone growth, and hearing damage. Also digestive and reproductive problems may result. This is even more dangerous to children under the age of 6 because of developing bodies and also pregnant women due to exposure to the fetus.

How to protect against lead poisoning:

Click the EPA lead information link below for additional information.

 

LODGING

There are over 1600 lodging establishments in the state of Missouri with nine establishments located in Tri-County.

Lodging facilities such as motels, hotels, and bed and breakfast facilities are licensed by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.  Prior to obtaining an annual license, the lodging establishment must pass an inspection.  The inspections include the areas of water supply, sewage/wastewater treatment, sanitation, fire safety, electrical wiring, plumbing, swimming pools and fuel burning appliances.  The inspections for the lodging establishments in Gentry, Worth and DeKalb counties are conducted by the Tri-County Health Department.

If you are planning a trip and looking for lodging, you can access a listing of licensed and unlicensed lodging establishments in the state including contact information, by clicking on the Lodging Establishments links below

FOOD PROGRAM

Tri-County Health Department conducts inspections of food facilities including restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, schools, temporary food events, and other food related facilities open to the public.  Facilities are inspected at least annually under the most recent Food Code as adopted by the state of Missouri; the food code currently in use is the 1999 Missouri Food Code.  To access specific information regarding the food code, you may click on the link or contact the department's environmental staff.

Inspections
Temporary Food

 

ON-SITE SEWAGE

Homes in portions of Worth, Gentry, and DeKalb counties that are without public sewer systems rely on onsite wastewater treatment systems (OWTS) to treat wastewater and disperse the treated effluent on the property where it originates.  These systems should be designed and operated to prevent human contact with sewage and to prevent the contamination of surface water and groundwater.  The Missouri Onsite Sewage Law (701.025-701.059 RSMo) and associated rules establish minimum standards for construction of onsite sewage treatment systems.

A permit is required for construction of an OWTS if a residential property is smaller than three acres, any commercial property regardless of acreage, or if it is adjacent to a public utility lake or Corp of Engineers property.  To obtain a permit, you may contact the Tri-County Health Department.  Currently the three southern townships in DeKalb county have  planning and zoning requirements.  Please contact your local township if building in Grand River, Colfax or Washington townships.

If the property does not meet conditions that would require a permit, the following conditions must be met:

  1. All points of the system must be at least 10 feet from the property line, and
  2. No effluent enter adjoining property, and
  3. No effluent contaminates ground water or surface water, and
  4. It does not create a nuisance.  Nuisance is defined as human waste discharge or exposed on land in a manner that makes it a potential instrument or medium for breeding of flies and mosquitoes, the production of odors, or transmission of disease.

Regardless of whether a permit is required, the law requires that any person installing a new OWTS, or repairing an existing OWTS, be registered to do so with the Department of Health and Senior Services.  A list of the registered installers can be obtained by clicking “Registered Installers.”

New OWTS are designed based on the proposed home and the soil conditions on the site.  Therefore, a soil morphology report, prepared by a Registered Onsite Soil Evaluator, should be prepared.  The report determines the type of system and location on your property where the system may be installed.  A list of the registered soil evaluators can be obtained by clicking “Soil Evaluators.”

Many times during a real estate transaction, the buyer or lending institution will require an inspection of the OWTS to determine if it is adequate and complies with the law.  This inspection must be conducted by a person who is licensed to inspect or evaluate onsite systems.  A list of Licensed Onsite System Inspectors/Evaluators can be obtained by clicking “Inspector/Evaluator.

If you have questions concerning onsite sewage treatment systems, please contact Tri-County Health Department.

 

LINKS