- Do the restaurants know when you are coming to inspect them?
Routine inspections of restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores are not scheduled. The operator does not know when we are coming. We want to see how the establishment is truly being run.
- Do you “shut restaurants down” if they have a violation?
The focus during food inspections is compliance with the Ohio Uniform Food Code to assure food is stored, prepared, and served safe to the customer. The inspector (sanitarian) works with the operator through education (why the violation is a problem) and how to comply (there are usually several alternative solutions). Follow-up inspections are made to assure correction. There are sometimes emergency situations that warrant an establishment to close immediately such as a backed up sewer drain or a power outage. This type of closing is usually voluntary and temporary until the situation is corrected. Some closings are permanent and forced by the Williams County Board of Health by the revocation of an operation’s license. Closing an establishment down is the final step when other attempts to work toward compliance have failed.
- I want to sell food for a fund raiser. What must I do?
Any person or organization wishing to sell food must obtain a Temporary Food Service Permit from the Environmental Division. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Contact a sanitarian at 419.485.3141. Depending on what you are wanting to sell and the location may qualify you for an exemption.
- I want to open/purchase a restaurant. What do I need to do?
Contact the Environmental Division before you sign a purchase agreement. A plan review is required of all food service operations (restaurants) and retail food establishments (grocery and convenience stores) before the business can operate. Up to 30 days should be allotted for our Division to review the plans. You can obtain a “new operation or change of ownership packet” by contacting a Sanitarian at 419.485.3141. Licenses are not transferrable.
- I think I have food poisoning. What should I do?
If you believe you have food poisoning, time is critical! Contact the Environmental Division as soon as possible at 419.485.3141. A Sanitarian will collect information from you. A food poisoning investigation begins when two or more unrelated individuals have consumed the same food. Stool and vomit samples usually are necessary from persons who are ill along with food samples from the suspect meal. You may also wish to contact you family doctor for information.
- My well water tastes, smells, or looks different. Should I be concerned?
Well water can change as the well ages, changes in the aquifer, groundwater level, contamination within the well, etc. The first step to check the safety of your well water is to have a sample of your water checked for bacteria. You can contact the Environmental Division and pick up a sterile water sample bottle and the instructions to do-it-yourself at a reduced cost of $30; or a Sanitarian can collect the sample for you at a cost of $65. The water sample is taken to a laboratory for analysis and you will receive a copy of the results along with information explaining the results. There are many other water tests that are offered such as nitrates, nitrites, lead, petroleum, and fluoride just to name a few.Most taste, odor, or appearance of well water is aesthetic in nature and is not harmful to health. Appearance issues – You may see deposits on your fixtures. This is the mineral content of the water such as from Manganese – you’ll see black deposits, or Iron – you’ll see rust-orange staining. Cloudy water – may be caused by changes in the groundwater level. Odor issues – You may smell a “rotten egg” odor – this is from Sulfates in the water. Taste issues – Taste can be affected by off odors of the well water and dissolved mineral content of the water.
Contact the Environmental Division at 419.485.3141 about the issues you are experiencing with your well water and a Sanitarian will assist you with water testing suggestions and costs.
- Can I make an anonymous call to complain about a nuisance?
The Environmental Division keeps all information confidential unless a case has to go to court. We need complete information because the Sanitarian may not be able to locate the problem and may need to contact you. Without complete information, we may be unable to resolve the problem you are dealing with.
- How do I file a complaint? Will my name be given out?
We have an “Investigation Request Form” that can be faxed or mailed to you, or you can come into our Montpelier office to complete the form. A Sanitarian will keep you informed on what is being done to resolve the problem. Your name will be kept confidential unless a case has to go to court.
- I think I have bed bugs. What should I do to get rid of them?
The spread of bed bugs have become prevalent in recent years. To find out what steps you can take to protect yourself, click here: www.odh.ohio.gov and select “B” on the A-Z index then select “Bed Bugs”. Further down on this same page is a connection to the Ohio State University fact sheet. Click on that to get more information.
- I have mold in the home that I rent. How can I get the landlord to correct it?
Click here to learn more.
- How do I test my home for radon? lead paint? mold?
Currently, the Environmental Division does not have radon, lead or mold testing kits. You can check with your local hardware store as many of them do carry radon and lead self-testing kits. The Nursing Division does work with doctor’s offices and the Ohio Department of Health concerning cases of children with elevated blood lead levels. For more information about elevated blood lead levels, contact the Nursing Division at 419.485.3141. If you can see mold or notice a musty odor, you have mold. The Environmental Division does not recommend testing for mold since testing can be very expensive. We recommend you take the steps outlined in our websites Mold Cleanup Information. If you do want the mold sampled, there are several companies in the Toledo, OH area. You can search the internet for “mold clean up and testing companies in Toledo, Ohio”.
- I know someone who hoards trash and garbage inside their home. What can be done?
The Environmental Division receives numerous calls from concerned citizens about a relative, friend or neighbor who hoards trash, junk, garbage, etc. in their home. There is little our Division can do in such situations – unless the problem is contributing to the possible spread of infectious disease within the community. The Environmental Division does work with other agencies, such as the Williams County Job & Family Services Department. If you would like more information concerning their services, you can contact them at telephone 419-636-6725.
- My landlord won’t fix the floor/roof/electrical/etc. What can I do?
Are you planning on renting an apartment or converted home? Here are a few tips that may save you some headaches. Before you plunk down your cold hard cash and move in or sign that lease agreement:
- Inspect the apartment. If there are items in disrepair, a good landlord will have them fixed before anyone moves in. Once you do move in, you may have difficulty getting your landlord to fix them.
- Check for plumbing leaks – look under sinks with water turned on and if there’s a basement, check there too.
- Make sure faucets work properly.
- Look for stains on ceilings – in closets too. This may mean the roof leaks. Look at the roof. Are there shingles missing?
- Look at the doors and windows – do they fit properly? are they screened? Is there excessive condensation inside the windows? (this can lead to mold)
- Does the apartment smell musty? (this may mean a mold problem)
- Are bathroom floors and fixtures in good condition?
- Are there exposed electrical wires, missing outlet covers or extension cords being used? This may mean electrical problems.
- Turn the furnace on to be sure it works and turn on the hot water to be sure the water works.
Click here to connect to our Nuisance Information section.
- My neighbor’s septic system isn’t working properly. What can be done?
Click here to complete the Investigation Request Form and mail, fax or deliver it to the Environmental Division.
- My septic system isn’t working properly, but I’m afraid to call. What should I do?
Most homeowners are reluctant to contact the Environmental Division when they are experiencing problems with their septic system. Below are a few suggestions to try before giving us a call, but if you have eliminated possible reasons for problems you are experiencing, please trust that the Environmental Division desires to work with homeowners in getting the problems resolved. If this can be done without replacing the system that is our goal; however all things – septic systems included – do have a life expectancy and sometimes do have to be replaced. We can provide you with possible funding information if repair or replacement is necessary. Before you call us, eliminate wasted water by checking out the following:
- Have the septic tank pumped by a licensed pumper; ask him if the tank is in good condition
- DO NOT use septic tank additives – you’re wasting your money and additives can damage the system.
- Do you have a footer sump pump connected to the septic system? If so, disconnect it from the system (unless your laundry water also drains into this sump pump).
- Is your water softener connected to the septic system? If so, disconnect it from the system.
- Change downspouts so they do not discharge on top of the leachfield.
- Check toilets – are they constantly “running”? If yes, repair them.
- Check faucets & shower heads – are they constantly dripping? If yes, repair them.
- Do not leave water running when brushing teeth, shaving, or at the kitchen sink needlessly?
- Install “low flow” shower heads & toilets.
- Cut down on the length of showers.
- Only run the dishwasher and washing machine with full loads.
- Divert any surface water drainage away from the leachfield.
- Can I install my own septic system?
Yes, you can install your own septic system. You must take a test the Environmental Division administers. There is no charge for this service. Contact the Environmental Division at 419-485-3141 for information.
- How do I contact my Township Trustee and Zoning Inspector?
Click here for a list of Township Trustees/Zoning Inspectors
- What are your fees? How are they determined?
Click here for Environmental Fees
- How do I become ServSafe Certified?
Go to http://www.servsafe.com