Onsite Sewage Treatment Program Freezing Problems & Septic Systems Details
Avoiding Common (Major and Minor) Canning Mistakes Details
Other things you can do to prevent litter Details
General Radon Information
Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas that is caused by the natural breakdown (radioactive decay) of materials that contain uranium. Radon can be found in high concentrations in soils and rocks containing uranium, granite, shale, phosphate and pitchblende. You can also find it in soils contaminated with certain types of industrial waste, such as the byproducts from uranium or phosphate mining. Outdoors, radon is diluted to such low levels that there is usually nothing to worry about. Once inside an enclosed space such as a home, however, radon can accumulate, depending upon the building's construction and the concentration of radon in underlying soil.
There is no scientific doubt that Radon gas is a known human lung carcinogen. Prolonged exposure to high levels of Radon gas can cause lung cancer. Millions of homes and buildings contain high levels of radon gas. EPA's efforts are directed at locating the homes with high levels and encouraging remediation of them.]
As a means of prevention, EPA and the Office of the Surgeon General recommend that all homes below the third floor be tested for Radon. Because Radon is invisible and odorless, a simple test is the only way to determine if a home has high radon levels. EPA recommends mitigating homes with high Radon levels and there are straight-forward reduction techniques that will work in virtually any home.
With federal funds, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has been able to develop and implement an extensive indoor radon program serving the residents of Ohio, utilizing resources at both the state and local government level. You may contact the Ohio Department of Health Radon Program at 1-800-523-4439 for more information on where to obtain low-cost radon test kits, the types of test kits available, how to test your home properly and how to use the results.
What is a Rain Barrel?
A rain barrel is a container used to collect and store rainwater from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff and diverted to a storm drain or out onto your property. The water in the rain barrel can then be used for watering your landscape.
Typically a rain barrel is constructed from a 55 gallon drum, a vinyl hose, PVC couplings, a screen grate to keep debris and insects out. A rain barrel is easy to construct and can sit conveniently under any residential gutter down spout.
Why use a Rain Barrel?
When you collect rain water that would otherwise enter the storm sewers, you are helping to minimize the amount of storm water that will directly runoff into streams. Why is this important? Every time it rains, unabsorbed water rushes to storm drains and directly into our local waterways. Often times this runoff carries with it pollutants it has picked up along the way, including pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste and automotive fluids.
Believe it or not, for every inch of rain that falls on a catchment area of 1,000 square feet, you can expect to collect approximately 600 gallons of rainwater. Ten inches of rain falling on a 1,000 square foot catchment area will generate about 6,000 gallons of rainwater!
Because there are many different ways to set up a rain barrel, we recommend doing some research first so you can decide the best way to install your barrel to most effectively meet your needs. Below are some helpful tips to get you started.
1. Be sure to create a level and secure foundation for your barrel. Raising up the barrel on pavers or blocks create more water pressure for your hose and better access for a watering can.
2. Direct your downspout into the top of the barrel, either through a screen provided or a hole cut into the barrel. Creating a “closed system” with a screen or lid will prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
3. Make a plan for handling excess rainwater by either installing a downspout diverter, which will divert the surplus water back into your downspout or an overflow valve. Several options for an overflow valve include connecting to a garden hose, another barrel or a hose that drains onto your yard.
Tips for using your Rain Barrel:
Depending on the barrel you use, installation may have a few special concerns. Here are a few general tips and recommendations:
• Do not use collected water for drinking, cooking or bathing.
• If a moss killer has been used on the roof, let a few rainfalls occur before collecting the roof runoff.
• The screen will prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your barrel. If you see a problem with mosquito breeding consider using mosquito dunks.
• Consider joining multiple barrels for additional capacity!
• Disconnect the barrel during the winter to avoid freezing and breaking of the barrel and its valves. Drain the system and connecting hoses by leaving the drain of the barrel open or turn the barrel over to
Drain. Store the barrel with hoses in a protected area.
• Use caution when using a rain barrel around children or pets. Be sure the barrel is on level ground so that a child could not knock it over. Also, make sure the top is covered by a screen or lid, so no one is tempted to climb inside.
To Purchase or Construct?
Ultimately, that decision is up to you. A constructed rain barrel can cost somewhere between $75-$150. You can find barrels for sale, online and at some garden centers. You can also purchase a rain barrel from your local Soil and Water office. Here in Stark County you can reach our Soil and Water office at 330-830-7700 ext 103.
If you decide to construct your own, there are many online resources. Plans can be easily found online to fit your specific needs, some are very easy they require few supplies and others are quite involved.
When searching for a barrel to make your own, either look for a brand new barrel or if it has previously been used make sure it is considered “food grade”. You want to make sure the barrel did not contain chemicals that could be dangerous to you or your garden. Whether you choose to purchase a prefabricated barrel or construct one yourself, soon you will be reaping the benefits from your barrel!
Your Septic System
Nearly 25 percent of U.S. households rely on onsite wastewater systems to dispose of waste water on their property. Homeowners with both wells and septic systems must take care to maintain these systems in order to insure the purity of their drinking water.
How Septic Systems Work
A septic system is a highly efficient, self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system. The National Small Flows Clearing House (NSFC), part of the National Environmental Services Center at West Virginia University, offers the following description of how septic systems work:
A septic system consists of two main parts – a septic tank and a drainfield. The septic tank is a watertight box, usually made of concrete or fiberglass, with an inlet and outlet pipe. Wastewater flows from your home to the septic tank through the sewer pipe. The septic tank treats the wastewater naturally by holding it in the tank long enough for solids and liquids to separate. The wastewater forms three layers inside the tank. Solids lighter than water (such as greases and oils) float to the top, forming a layer of scum. Solids heavier than water settle at the bottom of the tank, forming a layer of sludge. This leaves a middle layer of partially clarified wastewater. The layers of sludge and scum remain in the septic tank where bacteria found naturally in the wastewater work to break down the solids. The sludge and scum that cannot be broken down are retained in the tank until the tank is pumped. The layer of clarified liquid flows from the septic tank to the drainfield or to a distribution device. A distribution device helps to uniformly distribute the wastewater in the drainfield. A standard drainfield (also known as a leachfield, disposal field, or a soil absorption system) is a series of trenches or a bed lined with gravel or coarse sand and buried one to three feet below the ground surface. Perforated pipes or drain tiles run through the trenches to distribute the wastewater. The drainfield treats the wastewater by allowing it to slowly trickle from the pipes out into the gravel and down through the soil. The gravel and soil act as biological filters.
Installing a Septic System
A septic system must be installed a minimum safe distance away from drinking water wells, streams, lakes and houses, in order to protect water quality from wastewater working through the system. Distances are established both horizontally, which applies across the surrounding landscape and protects surface water, and vertically, which applies to distances underground and protects ground water. State and local health departments set the minimum distance standards. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends a minimum of 50 feet between your well and your septic tank or septic tank leach field. If you buy a property on which the septic system does not meet minimum separation standards, test your drinking water for bacteria at least twice each year.
Managing Your Septic System
A properly maintained septic system is no threat to the ground water that supplies your well.
However, if your septic system is failing, wastewater can carry contaminates such as nitrates, harmful bacteria and viruses into ground water and, potentially, the well. Your septic system, just like your drinking water well system, needs a regularly scheduled maintenance program. Create a septic maintenance log and keep it with your well maintenance log. The NSFC recommends having your septic system inspected by a professional every 1-2 years and having the septic tank pumped out when needed, generally every 3 to 5 years, depending on the demand placed on it.
Demand is based upon the number of people in your household, the amount of wastewater generated (based on the number of people in the household and the amount of water used), the volume of solids in the wastewater (e.g., using a garbage disposal will increase the amount of solids), and septic tank size. The use of water conservation devices can also limit the amount of wastewater, and prolong the life of your septic system.
Make sure that everyone in the household is careful about what they flush down your sinks or toilets. Never dispose of items that can clog the system or chemicals that could contaminate ground and surface water. This includes grease, fat, oil, gauze bandages, feminine hygiene products, disposable diapers, paper towels, kitty litter, cigarette butts, coffee grounds, dental floss, hair, paint, pesticides, varnish, thinners, waste oil, and photographic solutions.
Also take care of your septic system’s drainfield. The NSFC recommends the following strategies to protect the field and prolong its functional life:
• Do not drive over the drainfield with cars, trucks or heavy equipment.
• Do not plant trees or shrubbery in the drainfield area, because the roots can get into the lines and plug them.
• Do not cover the drainfield with hard surfaces, such as concrete or asphalt. Grass is the best cover, because it will help prevent erosion and help remove excess water.
• Divert surface runoff water from roofs, patios, driveways and other areas away from the drainfield.
Safe Residence for Your Family
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) encourages you to learn about creating a safe and healthy environment in your home.
ODH’s Ohio Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (formerly Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program) takes a comprehensive approach to helping Ohioans maintain a residence that is safe and healthy.
A healthy home is clean, safe, well-maintained and well-ventilated. It is free from pests, mold, moisture, dust, dirt and other household contaminants. Hazards in the home include lead, mercury, radon, environmental tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, mold, allergens, pests and safety issues.
The seven elements of a healthy home include:
Keep it dry: Prevent water damage and mold growth by checking your plumbing, roof and draining systems for leaks.
Keep it clean: Keep all areas free of clutter and contaminants. Wash kitchen surfaces daily, bathrooms, floors and horizontal surfaces weekly and vacuum often using a well-maintained vacuum with a HEPA filter.
Keep it safe: Install smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers, while taking other safety measures to prevent injuries (such as slips, trips, falls and burns).
Keep it well-ventilated: Supply fresh air and eliminate the concentrations of moisture, radon and carbon monoxide in your home.
Keep it contaminant-free: Reduce your exposure to lead and other contaminants in your home (i.e. volatile organic compounds (VOCs), pesticides and radon).
Keep it well-maintained: Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely. Inspect gutters, downspouts, air filters, heating system and batteries in smoke alarms regularly.
Keep it pest-free: Seal cracks and openings to prevent insects and rodents from entering your home. Store food in sealed containers and clean up spills immediately.
Source: Ohio Department of Health
Environmental Health Education
The Stark County Health Department is proud to offer free, environmental health education within their jurisdiction. Past programs have been presented to businesses, townships, community groups, schools, etc…Program topics may include, but are not limited to:
- Food Safety
- Surface Water
All programs will be tailored to meet your specific needs. Our health educator, Courtney Myers is a Registered Sanitarian and has twelve years experience in providing environmental education. For more information or to schedule a program, please contact Courtney Myers at330-493-9904 ext239, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proper Disposal of Household Prescriptions and Over-the-counter Drugs
Never, Flush or Pour Unwanted, Unused or Expired Medications down the Drain. This includes expired and unused prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.
Why Not Flush?
Flushed medications can get into our lakes, rivers and streams. Pharmaceuticals enter our wastewater from a variety of sources including the flushing of unused medications. A nationwide study done in 1999 and 2000 by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) found low levels of drugs such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives and steroids in 80% of the rivers and streams tested.
Fish and other aquatic wildlife are being adversely affected. A number of studies have shown impacts on aquatic life. For example, male fish have been feminized (produced eggs) when exposed to hormones (birth control pills). Other drugs, such as anti-depressants and beta-blockers, reduce fertility or affect spawning in certain aquatic organisms.
For Households and Individual Consumers
If available, take your medications to a local collection event. If you must dispose of your drugs in the trash, follow these steps:
To avoid accidental or intentional misuse of drugs, treat medications (liquids and pills) by adding water and then salt, ashes, dirt, cat litter, coffee grounds, or another undesirable substance.
- Hide all medications in an outer container, such as sealable bag, box or plastic tub to prevent discoveryand removal from the trash. Seal the container with strong tape.
- Dispose of drugs as close to your trash collection day as possible to avoid misuse and/or misdirection.
- Do not conceal discarded drugs in food to prevent consumption by scavenging humans, pets or wildlife.
Note: Be careful in handling medications. Some drugs can cause harm if handled by people other than those to whom they were prescribed. Also, avoid crushing pills as some medications can be harmful in powder form.
Medications self-administered by injection with a needle or "sharp" may be disposed of in the trash. If such medications include an attached needle, they should be placed in a puncture proof container, sealed with tape and labeled as "sharps." However, the state strongly recommends that medications with attached needles be disposed of at hospital-based household sharps collection programs. All hospitals in New York State (except for federal facilities) are required to collect sharps from households.
Medications without attached needles may be disposed of in household trash as described above.
When you burn refuse in burn barrels or open piles, the potential cost to your health, your home, your neighbors and your environment far exceeds the price of adequate collection services. Protect yourself, your neighbors and your wallet by knowing the rules—what you can burn and where.
Burning household waste produces many toxic chemicals and is one of the largest known sources of dioxin in the nation. Other air pollutants from open burning include particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, lead and mercury. These pollutants have been linked to several health problems, including asthma, respiratory illnesses, nervous system damage, kidney and liver damage, and reproductive or developmental disorders
What is open burning?
You are open burning any time you light an outdoor fire without a chimney or stack.
Why is open burning a problem?
Open burning can release many kinds of toxic fumes. Leaves and plant materials send aloft millions of spores when they catch fire, causing many people with allergies to have difficulty breathing. The pollutants released by open burning also make it more to meet health-based air quality standards, especially in or near large cities. The gases released by open burning can also corrode siding and damage paint on buildings.
What open burning is never allowed?
Under Ohio law, these materials may not be burned anywhere in the state at any time:
• garbage—any wastes created in the process of handling, preparing, cooking or consuming food;
• materials containing rubber, grease and asphalt or made from petroleum, such as tires, cars and auto parts, plastics or plastic- coated wire; and
• dead animals unless approved for control of disease by a governing agency.
• Open burning is not allowed when air pollution warnings, alerts or emergencies are in effect.
• Fires cannot obscure visibility for roadways, railroad tracks or air fields.
• No wastes generated off the premises may be burned. For example, a tree trimming contractor may not haul branches and limbs to another site to burn.
Does Ohio EPA ever allow exceptions to the rules?
Under certain circumstances, yes. However, to burn a prohibited material or set a fire in a restricted area, you must receive written permission from Ohio EPA before you begin burning. This may take two weeks.
Can a community regulate open burning?
Yes. However, local ordinances cannot be less strict than the state law.
What happens if I’m caught illegally open burning?
Ohio EPA has the authority to enforce the state’s open burning laws. Violations can result in substantial penalties. If you have any questions, or would like to report a suspected open burning incident, contact your Ohio EPA district office or your local air pollution control agency.
Ohio Environmental Protection Agency
P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049
(614) 644-3020 www.epa.state.oh.us/
Protect Your Family From Recreational Water Illness
Recreational water illnesses (RWIs) are caused by germs spread by swallowing, breathing in mists or aerosols of, or having contact with contaminated water in swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks, water play areas, interactive fountains, lakes, rivers, or oceans. RWIs can be a wide variety of infections, including gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections. The most commonly reported RWI is diarrhea. Diarrheal illnesses can be caused by germs such as Crypto (short for Cryptosporidium), Giardia, Shigella, norovirus and E. coli O157:H7.
Swallowing water that has been contaminated with containing germs can cause diarrheal illness.
Swimmers share the water—and the germs in it—with every person who enters the pool. On average, people have about 0.14 grams of feces on their bottoms which, when rinsed off, can contaminate recreational water. In addition, when someone is ill with diarrhea, their stool can contain millions of germs. This means that just one person with diarrhea can easily contaminate the water in a large pool or water park. Swallowing even a small amount of recreational water that has been contaminated with feces containing germs can make you sick.
In addition, lakes, rivers, and the ocean can be contaminated with germs from sewage spills, animal waste, and water runoff following rainfall. Some common germs can also live for long periods of time in salt water.
Many other RWIs (skin, ear, eye, respiratory, neurologic, wound, and other infections) are caused by germs that live naturally in the environment (for example, in water and soil). If disinfectant levels in pools or hot tubs are not maintained at the appropriate levels, these germs can multiply and cause illness when swimmers breathe in mists or aerosols of or have contact with the contaminated water.
How To Protect Your Family
You can choose to swim healthy! Healthy Swimming behaviors will help protect you and your kids from recreational water illnesses (RWIs) and help stop germs from getting in the pool in the first place.
Three Steps for All Swimmers
- Don't swim when you have diarrhea. You can spread germs in the water and make other people sick.
- Don't swallow the pool water. Avoid getting water in your mouth.
- Practice good hygiene. Shower with soap before swimming and wash your hands after using the toilet or changing diapers. Germs on your body end up in the water.
Three Steps for Parents of Young Kids
- Take your kids on bathroom breaks or check diapers often. Waiting to hear "I have to go" may mean that it's too late.
- Change diapers in a bathroom or a diaper-changing area and not at poolside. Germs can spread in and around the pool.
- Wash your child thoroughly (especially the rear end) with soap and water before swimming. Invisible amounts of fecal matter can end up in the pool.
Center For Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333
Sewage Rules Update
Recently, two senate bills were introduced on the topic of sewage treatment systems: SB 110 sponsored by Senator Niehaus and SB 100 sponsored by Senators Grendell and Cafaro. SB 110 is based on the sewage treatment system study commission’s findings and recommendations. The study commission was formed by the legislature in 2007 when the rules were rescinded. Its responsibility was to make recommendations on sewage treatment issues to the state legislature covering technical, public health, and economical concerns.
SB 100 only incorporated some of the recommendations, since its sponsors philosophically disagree with the study commission’s findings. However, SB 100 does incorporate the establishment of a loan and grant program.
Opponents of SB 110 have been stating to local media outlets that systems under this bill will cost home owners $30,000 to $50,000. Stark County is using most of the principles in the proposed regulations and the installation costs are $7,000 to $15,000. Occasionally, in the worst soils, a drip system will cost $18,000 to $20,000. Since January 2008, 333 systems have been installed. The average costs are: $9,850 for new, $8,475 for replacement, $3,501 for alteration, and $8,438 overall. We have attempted to install less costly, less maintenance intensive systems that still abided with most of the principles of the 2007 law.
The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act
-Information for Homeowners
On December 19, 2007, the President signed into law the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Safety Act, named for the daughter of Nancy Baker and the granddaughter of former Secretary of State, James Baker. Graeme Baker died in a tragic incident in June 2002 after the suction from a spa drain entrapped her under the water. The new law is aimed at reducing the number of entrapment-related deaths and injuries by making pools safer, securing the environment around them, and educating consumers and industry on pool safety.
The Act specifies that on or after December 19, 2008, swimming pool and spa drain covers available for purchase in the United States must meet specific performance requirements. Additionally, public swimming pools, wading pools, spas, and hot tubs must meet requirements for installation of compliant drain covers. Additionally, in certain instances, public pools and spas must have additional devices or systems designed to prevent suction entrapment.
How does the Act define a “Public” pool or spa?
The term is defined broadly and includes:
- Any facility open to the public whether free, or available for a fee.
- Multiple family residential facilities(apartments,condominium complexes, etc.)
- Hotels or other public accommodations.
- Facilities operated by the federal government for the military, their dependents, or for any federal agency or department.
Does the act apply to residential pools and spas?
Yes. However, homeowners just need to be aware of this new law. Most of the responsibility of compliance rests with the manufacturers and suppliers. As of December 19, 2008, it will be against federal law to make, import, or sell a suction outlet fitting and cover that does not comply with ASME/ANSI A112.19.8 –2007. Installation of a non-compliant cover in a customer’s pool or spa would be a violation of that provision. All other federal mandates apply only to public facilities.
How will I know which covers comply?
They will have embossed or permanently marked in a location that is visible when installed:
ASME A112.19.8 2007 and a flow rating “X GPM” and “Life: X Years”, and Manufacturer and Model.
What is “ASME/ANSI A112.19.8-2007”?
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) are professional, non-profit organizations that assist in the development and maintenance of codes and standards through ongoing research. Membership consists of a wide range of engineers and other professionals from both the public and private sectors. A112.19.8-2007 is the standard that explains the materials, testing methods, and marking requirements for these new drain covers.
From: The Cuyahoga County Board of Health ( www.ccbh.net)
West Nile Virus Prevention
The most environmentally-friendly way to prevent West Nile Virus is to reduce the number of mosquitoes. Most mosquitoes complete their life cycle in 7 to 14 days, depending on temperature, and availability of moisture to lay their eggs.
Help reduce the number of mosquitoes in areas outdoors where you work or play, by draining areas of standing water that persist for 7 to 14 days. In this way, you reduce the number of places mosquitoes can lay their eggs and breed.
- At least once or twice a week, empty water from flower pots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans.
- Check for clogged rain gutters and clean them out.
- Remove discarded tires, and other items that could collect water.
- Be sure to check for containers or trash in places that may be hard to see, such as under bushes or under your home.
- Fix torn screens to prevent mosquitoes from entering your house.
- Turn over wading pools when not in use.
- Aerate ornamental ponds. When it’s not practical to aerate, mosquito dunks can be placed in the pond to keep mosquito larvae from becoming adults. Mosquito dunks consist of a bacterium that once ingested by the larvae, the larvae die. These and similar products can be found at your local garden center or home improvement warehouse.
- Maintain your pool. Drain your pool if it will not be used for the season.
- Grade or drain any low spots in your yard that may hold water for more than 7 days.
- Take note of tarps that cover boats, cars, equipment, and firewood. Small pools of water will form on tarps after a rainstorm.
- Maintain the ditches around your home. Do not discard yard waste into ditches or gullies. Decaying vegetation and water are a combination that mosquitoes love.
Contact The Stark County Health Department at (330) 493-9904 if the elimination of standing water is not possible. A licensed employee will survey the problem and larvacide if necessary. Do not pour used motor oil, kerosene, or any other product not approved as a larvacide into standing water.
From: CDC: West Nile Virus Q&A: Prevention
Stark County Health Department
Well Water Testing Frequently Asked Questions
Should I have my well tested?
Yes. In 1999 - 2000, contaminated private well water caused 26% of the drinking water outbreaks that made people sick. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) rules that protect public drinking water systems do not apply to privately owned wells. Most states have rules for private wells, but these rules may not completely protect your private well. In other words, as a private well owner, it is up to you to make sure that your well water is safe to drink. Your local health or environmental department can help advise you.
When should I have my well tested?
Check your well every spring to make sure there are no mechanical problems; test it once each year for germs and once every two to three years for harmful chemicals. You should also have your well tested if:
- There are known problems with well water in your area
- You have experienced problems near your well (i.e., flooding, land disturbances, and nearby waste disposal sites)
- You replace or repair any part of your well system.
How do I find out if my well is contaminated?
The only way to find out if your well water is contaminated is to test it. You can contact your health or environmental department, or a private laboratory to test for germs and harmful chemicals. In some states, the drilling contractor must test a new well after it is built. However, as a well owner, it is up to you to maintain your well and have it tested regularly.
How do germs and chemicals get into my well water?
Germs and chemicals can get into your well water and contaminate it in different ways. Some germs and chemicals occur naturally. For example, heavy metals like arsenic, lead, and cadmium are naturally found in rocks and soil and sometimes seep into ground water. Other contaminants come from human and animal waste resulting from polluted storm water runoff, agricultural runoff, flooded sewers, or individual septic systems that are not working properly.
What are the germs and chemicals I should test for in my well?
Several things you should test for are listed below. These germs and chemicals can be a risk to your health.
Coliform bacteria are microbes found in the digestive systems of warm-blooded animals, in soil, on plants, and in surface water. These microbes typically do not make you sick; however, because microbes that do cause disease are hard to test for in the water, "total coliforms" are tested instead. If the total coliform count is high, then it is very possible that harmful germs like viruses, bacteria, and parasites might also be found in the water.
Fecal Coliform / Escherichia coli (E. coli)
Fecal coliform bacteria are a kind of total coliform. The feces (or stool) and digestive systems of humans and warm-blooded animals contain millions of fecal coliforms. E. coli is part of the fecal coliform group and may be tested for by itself. Fecal coliforms and E. coli are usually harmless. However, a positive test may mean that feces and harmful germs have found their way into your water system. These harmful germs can cause diarrhea, dysentery, and hepatitis. It is important not to confuse the test for the common and usually harmless E. coli with a test for the more dangerous E. coli O157:H7.
Nitrate is naturally found in many types of food. However, high levels of nitrate in drinking water can make people sick. Nitrate in your well water can come from animal waste, private septic systems, wastewater, flooded sewers, polluted storm water runoff, fertilizers, agricultural runoff, and decaying plants. The presence of nitrate in well water also depends on the geology of the land around your well. A nitrate test is recommended for all wells. If the nitrate level in your water is higher than the EPA standards, you should look for other sources of water or ways to treat your water.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
VOCs are industrial and fuel-related chemicals that may cause bad health effects at certain levels. Which VOCs to test for depends on where you live. Contact your local health or environmental department, or the EPA to find out if any VOCs are a problem in your region. Some VOCs to ask about testing for are benzene, carbon tetrachloride, toluene, trichloroethelene, and methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE).
The pH level tells you how acidic or basic your water is. The pH level of the water can change how your water looks and tastes. If the pH of your water is too low or too high, it could damage your pipes, cause heavy metals like lead to leach out of the pipes into the water, and eventually make you sick.
Other germs or harmful chemicals that you should test for will depend on where your well is located on your property, which state you live in, and whether you live in an urban or rural area. These tests could include testing for lead, arsenic, mercury, radium, atrazine, and other pesticides. You should check with your local health or environmental department, or the EPA to find out if any of these are a problem in your region.
Please remember that if your test results say that there are germs or chemicals in your water, you should contact your local health or environmental department for help and test your water more often.
My well water has a funny smell or taste; should I worry about getting sick?
A change in your water's taste, color, or smell is often not a health concern. However, a change could be a sign of serious contamination problems. Any time you notice a change in your water quality, you should have it tested.
Where do I go to have my well water tested?
State and local health or environmental departments often test for bacteria and nitrates. Health or environmental departments, or county governments should have a list of the state-certified (licensed) laboratories in your area that test for a variety of substances..
Home Sale Inspections
Over the years the health department has been involved with several lawsuits where home inspectors overlooked septic problems, causing new buyers extreme hardship. In addition, the licensing council strongly advocated a septic system inspection program for home sales. Thus, regulations were written in late 2006 that implemented a property transfer inspection program on January 1, 2008. The regulations require properties served by a Home Sewage Treatment System (HSTS) to be inspected prior to a property transfer to determine if the HSTS is functioning properly and if sanitary sewer is available. All failing HSTSs will be replaced or upgraded, or if sanitary sewer is available (a sewer lateral on the property) the property must be connected. Signs of failure may include but are not limited to: sewage surfacing into the ground or being discharged into a stream or storm sewer, backing into a structure or otherwise causing a public health threat. This program dovetails with the operation and maintenance program in the Phase II Stormwater Program, both of which aid in attainment of the Ohio EPA’s water quality (TMDL) standards.
The program also requires that the system be inspected by the health department or by a registered service provider. Service providers are tested and bonded through the health department. Copies of their inspections must be submitted to the health department, for review and follow-up, when necessary. In addition, minimum inspection standards have been implemented.
Real estate transfer inspections are an ideal time to upgrade failing systems, since funds can be easily allocated for the correction during the transfer. It also protects buyers from the financial burden they may encounter if the system is found to be failing later, if an inspection had not been conducted. Lastly, it gives the buyer an opportunity to become educated on how to properly maintain the system, improving system longevity.
For further information, please visit http://www.starkhealth.org/sewage.htm
PHASE II STORM WATER
Due to an EPA mandate under the Clean Water Act called Phase II Storm water, communities within the “urbanized area” of the County, have contracted services with the Board of Health to conduct an “illicit discharge, detection, and elimination program”. The program is designed to monitor, detect, and remove pollution from the storm sewer systems.
Our program involves:
1.) Creating a database for all sewage system records in the urbanized area, especially those discharging into the storm sewer.
2.) Screening and inspection of storm sewer systems.
3.) Locating Problem Areas. (This includes failing septic systems, but also includes illegal residential or industrial discharges, such as used motor oil or paint).
4.) Determine the Source. 5.) Remove/Correct Illicit Connections, using enforcement and community based solutions when necessary.
6.) Document Actions Taken and Report to the Ohio EPA.
The Phase II employees have visited outfall sites for dry flow screening in the urbanized areas of Stark County, North Canton, East Canton, Navarre Village, Louisville, Hartville, and Tuscarawas, Canton, Plain, Jackson, Lake, Perry, Lawrence, and Nimishillen Townships. The Health District has not contracted services in Canton, Massillon, or Alliance.
The primary focus of the mosquito program is to reduce the incidence of mosquito borne disease. Our primary work involves larvaciding early in the mosquito season. Larvaciding lets us control or minimize the number of adults capable of breeding and/or biting.
As the mosquito population begins to grow, adulticiding becomes necessary. A number of municipalities contract with us to spray more frequently. The Stark County Health Department's mosquito control plan is consistent with the practice of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). IPM allows for the safest and most effective method of mosquito control.
Experts agree that WNV is here to stay.
The Stark County Health Department cooperates with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) in mosquito trapping.
Mosquito trapping and testing
in Stark County as a tool for early detection of possible WNV activity in an area.
Mosquitoes are submitted to ODH, with results reported back to our department in as little as two weeks.
CDC West Nile Virus Homepage
Ohio Department of Health West Nile Virus Homepage
What Horse Owners Should Know About West Nile Virus
Frequently Asked Questions About Birds And West Nile Virus
Larvaciding and adulticiding are portions of our Integrated Pest Management for control of mosquitoes. Residents may contact the Stark County Health Department regarding concerns over possible mosquito breeding areas and their treatment. When necessary, our department will use adulticiding as a means of mosquito control. Recent studies have shown that the proper use of pesticides do not pose any risk to people or the environment. The Stark County Health Department is very committed to using the safest chemicals available regardless of cost.
The Chemicals Used by the Stark County Health Department
Altosid Briquets , larvacide, (Label & MSDS ) an insect growth regulation hormone is an insect growth regulator that prevents the mosquito from passing onto the adult stage.
VectoLex , larvacide, (Label & MSDS) can kill mosquitoes during the larval stage of its development. Its active ingredient contains a naturally occurring bacteria. VectoLex is a bacterial larvacide that is non‑toxic and will not harm non‑target organisms.
5% Skeeter Abate , larvacide (Label & MSDS ) an insecticide used to control larvae .
DUET , adulticide, (Label & MSDS ), a synthetic pyrethroid, applied as a spray to reduce possibly-disease carrying mosquitoes. It is relatively nontoxic to humans and other mammals, and health risks associated with the use of a pyrethroid in accordance with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are negligible.
FLIT 10EC , adulticide, (Label & MSDS ) Handheld spraying units will be used to disperse the Flit 10EC for spot treatment of an adulticiding agent. Normally applied to foliage to act as a mosquito barrier.
We will have our spray schedule posted on this site 1 week ahead of time if you would like to know when your area is scheduled. The variability of rain, temperature and other considerations make it impossible to project beyond that. If you have any questions or need additional information call (330) 493-9904.
The Stark County Health Department is committed to both surveillance and treatment for the safest control of mosquitoes and their associated mosquito-borne diseases. Residents are assured that protection of both humans and of the environment will always play a key role in providing the county with a safe spring, summer and fall. Our web site will continue to offer information and links so that residents can reduce breeding locations on their own properties and reduce exposure of themselves and their family as mosquito populations increase.
Mosquito Spraying Complete for 2013
By law, animal bites occurring in our jurisdiction must be reported to the Stark County Health department. Domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, are quarantined for a period of ten (10) days from the date of the original bite. To be released from quarantine the animal must be current on its rabies vaccination and determined not to be afflicted with rabies.
Wild animals (raccoon, skunk, bat etc.) that have bitten a person or family pet may be tested for rabies. Any animal that is submitted for testing must be dead, relatively fresh and have an intact skull. The Stark County Health department does not have the means for euthanizing animals. This task must be done by the homeowner, a private trapper or the local police department that provides this service. If the bite occurs on the weekend the animal may be kept refrigerated until the Health department can pick up the specimen. Please do not freeze the specimens as this can affect the test results.
For raccoons, skunks and foxes that are acting suspicious (defined by walking erratically, turning in circles, tameness, unusual aggressiveness or seems disorientated) we will summit the animal for testing. These animals simply being active during the day is not a suspicious activity. Any animal that is submitted for testing must be dead, relatively fresh and have an intact skull.
Animal Bite Report Form
Complaints, specifically public health related complaints, are the responsibility of the health department. Complaints can range from a neighbor's septic system flowing on your property, to a dirty restaurant, or perhaps, a neighbor that is stockpiling garbage.
Whatever the case, the nuisance must be reported to the health department on a written form as provided by the health department
You may call 330.493.9904 to request a complaint form, or download a complaint form below.
Well Water Samples
The Stark County Health District takes over 2,000 water samples every year to verify the bacteriological safety of residential and commercial wells annually. You can arrange to have your well tested by calling 330.493.9904. Cost FEE for the first sample and FEE for each additional sample.Should your initial sample come back 'unsafe', you will be directed to Disinfect Your Water Well, (download guidelines). Our staff will provide specific guidelines pertinent to the circumstances.
Water Well Permits
Any property owner intending to construct, develop, or install a private water system or have such operations performed by another person, must make application to the Stark County Health Department prior to the start of work.Applications, which can be mailed out upon request (330.493.9904), must be accompanied by a site plan and the fee. Residential @ FEE and Commercial @ FEE.
Within three working days from the date of application receipt, the public health sanitarian will determine compliance, and if found satisfactory, issue the permit.
Well Abandonment Permits
A well abandonment form must be otained from the Stark County Health Department (330) 493.9904. The fee for well abandonment permit is FEE residential and FEE for commercial. All obstructions n the well must be removed (ex. pump, wiring, etc.). The well is then filled entirely with an approved grouting material. Proper abandonment of water wells help insure that our ground water is maintained for the present and future generations.
New Septic System Permit
For information click here.
Replacement Septic System Permit
For information click here.
Plumbing permits must be obtained through the Stark County Health Department prior to the start of work.
To obtain a Residential Plumbing Permit, the homeowner or plumber can make application at the Stark County Health Department for a FEE before obtaining a permit.
Note: Homeowners doing their own plumbing must live at the residence and sign a notarized AFFIDAVIT.
Prior to obtaining a Commercial Plumbing Permit you must submit a Plumbing Plan Review Application. A professional engineer or architect must design plan. Upon receipt, your plan will be logged and then assigned to a plans examiner. You will be notified by letter whether your plan is in compliance, or whether additional information is needed, once it is reviewed. Submission of all items at the same time is essential in order to streamline and prevent delays in the review. After plan approval, application may be made for a FEE to obtain a permit.
Note: After the plans have been received, they will be reviewed within 30 days. This applies to new or remodeled plumbing. Plans are reviewed in the order they are received or resubmitted. If your plans are incomplete or disapproved, the 30 days begins again after the necessary information or revisions are received.
Note: Any plumbing contractor engaged in or intending to engage in the plumbing business in the Stark County Health Department jurisdiction must be registered with the department. Plumbing Contractor Registration Form and Criteria.
Permit for a New Restaurant
Application is made on a prescribed form, with submittal of full plans of the facility planned and plan review fees. Plan review fees vary based upon the size and/or complexity of the food service operation planned. Once plans are reviewed, an approval letter is sent to the applicant.
Once construction is complete and the applicant has obtained all building department, zoning, and fire approvals, a pre-licensing inspection is conducted. If the facility has been constructed in compliance with the approved plans and state and local regulations, the applicant may apply for and obtain a food service license. License fees again vary based upon the size and complexity of the operation planned. For more information on obtaining a license see the Food Safety Page.
Permit for a Temporary Food Service License
Temporary food licenses are issued for events that are a maximum of 5 days in duration.
Applicant fills out application along with detailed information on location, time, and date of the event, foods to be served, handling procedure and equipment set-up. Fee is FEE.
All temporary permits issued by the health department are inspected during operation. For more information on obtaining a license see the Food Safety Page.
Water Well Contaminents
To obtain a copy of the Animal Bite and/or Nuisance Complaint form, you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer. To download and install a FREE copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader click here:
To print or download the form(s), choose which form, Animal Bite Form or Nuisance Complaint Form, and either save the document or click on the print button on the toolbar.
Upon completion of the form, you can return it to the Stark County Health Department by one of two methods. You can fax the completed form to (330) 493-9920, or send it to:
Stark County Health Department
3951 Convenience Circle, N.W.
Canton, Oh. 44718-2660
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