The ultimate goal of the Marion County Health Department’s public health staff is the prevention of the occurrence of infectious diseases in Marion County. In order to protect the people within the county from contracting and transmitting infectious diseases, the Division of Environmental Health performs a comprehensive food protection program, private sewage program, private water well program, and tanning program.
“Foodborne illness, despite the progress which has been achieved in food protection programs, continues to be a major public health problem” (Food Service Sanitation Code). The Division of Environmental Health permits and performs inspections on all permanent, mobile, and temporary food service establishments in Marion County. A food service establishment is a restaurant, school, daycare, hospital, grocery store or convenience store. It is the purpose and intent of these inspections and regulations to promote safe food handling practices and to prevent the outbreak of foodborne illness. Our primary goal is to assist the operator in preventing any foodborne illness through education and inspections. However, in situations that may pose an imminent health risk to the public, it is our responsibility to perform enforcement action up to and including the closure of an establishment.
Many citizens of Marion County rely on private water wells for their water supply. To protect these citizens from contracting or transmitting waterborne diseases, the Division of Environmental Health, upon request, collects and submits private water well samples to the Illinois Department of Public Health Laboratory for both bacterial and chemical analysis. Procedures and literature for treating or correcting any deficiencies of an existing water well are supplied to an owner when an unsatisfactory analysis is received. Once treatment and/or corrections have been made, a resample is collected to assure a safe drinking water supply. The Division of Environmental Health also monitors all non-community water supplies within the county and permits the sealing of abandoned wells.
The private sewage program is performed in accordance to IDPH’s Private Sewage Disposal Licensing Act and Code “to prevent the transmission of disease-causing organisms, environmental contamination and nuisances resulting from improper handling, storage, transportation, and disposal from private sewage disposal systems,” (Local Health Protection Grant). Any new or renovated system must be installed by a licensed contractor or the
homeowner and permitted through the MCHD. The Division of Environmental Health must receive an application for permit and a construction plan from the contractor/homeowner. Once approved, a permit is issued and an inspection of the system is conducted during and after construction.
Through a grant awarded by the State of Illinois, the Division of Environmental Health samples breeding areas of mosquitoes with the potential of being disease carriers.
The Division of Environmental Health performs annual inspections at each tanning facility in Marion County. At each inspection, the health department will check customer records and each tanning bed to ensure the public’s safety.
Complaints are accepted regarding all environmental health programs. The complaints are investigated for their violation of county ordinance or state regulations. If there is a violation, a time period is granted for correction. If the owner fails to correct the violation, the case is
referred to the Marion County State’s Attorney for enforcement.