Environmental Health consists of those organized activities undertaken to protect and enhance the public's health through the control of potentially harmful materials, organisms, energies and conditions in the environment. The term "health" is used in its broadest context to mean not just the absence of disease, but rather a complete state of physical, mental and social well-being.
The staff of the Madera County Environmental Health Division are committed to preserving the public's health and the environment.
Environmental Health Division has been designated by the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) as the Certified Unified Program Agency (CUPA) for Madera County. As the CUPA, the Environmental Health Division is responsible for the implementation of six statewide environmental programs. These programs consist of:
- Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act (APSA) Program
- California Accidental Release Prevention (CalARP) Program
- Hazardous Material Release Response Plan (Business Plans)
- Hazardous Material Management Plan and Hazardous Material Inventory Statement (HMMP/HMIS)
- Hazardous Waste Generator and Onsite Hazardous Waste Treatment Programs
- Underground Storage Tanks (UST) Program
Environmental Health Division works to ensure that all businesses in Madera County handle, store and dispose of hazardous materials and hazardous wastes in compliance with applicable laws and regulations in order to protect the health and environment of the citizens of Madera County.
CUPA programs are administered throughout the County and its incorporated Cities. All businesses regulated by the CUPA requires a permit.
The Environmental Health Division works in cooperation with the Public Health Department’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. Once a child is determined to be a lead poisoning case, both a Public Health Nurse (PHN) from the Public Health Department and a Registered Environmental Health Specialist, Certified Lead Inspector/Assessor (I/A) from the Environmental Health Division, visit the child’s home. The PHN counsels the family on the medical, developmental, and nutritional aspects of lead poisoning while the Inspector/Assessor inspects the home for lead paint hazards. They work together to determine the probable cause of lead poisoning. The PHN continues to track the child’s blood lead levels while the I/A works with the homeowner or landlord to remediate lead hazards.
Environmental Lead Hazards
- Housing built prior to 1978 is presumed to have lead-based paint. Chipped or peeling paint often from doors and windows may be ingested by children.
- Lead in soil. Lead may be in soil where children play. It may have been deposited near roadways when leaded gas was used or where leaded paint has chipped from a house
- Lead contaminated dust from paint or soil may cling to household surfaces and be transferred to children’s hands or other objects that they may put in their mouths.
- Take home exposure – adults may bring home lead on clothing as a result of work with radiator repair, demolition, soldering, scrap metal recycling, or hobbies such as stained glass, or fishing with lead weights.
Beginning April 2010, federal law will require contractors that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978, to be certified and follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.
Contractors must use lead-safe work practices and follow these three simple procedures:
- Contain the work area.
- Minimize dust.
- Clean up thoroughly.
To speak to someone regarding symptoms or effects of lead poisoning, contact Madera County Public Health Department at (559) 675-7893. For questions regarding lead hazards in housing contact Madera County Environmental Health Division at (559) 675-7823.
- Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement
- Private Well Construction/Destruction Permitting
- Cross-Connection Control Program
This program seeks to assure that public and private water supplies are suitable for domestic uses. Small public water systems are routinely inspected to assure proper operation and maintenance.
The California State Water Resources Control Board - Division of Drinking Water (SWRCB-DDW) has delegated our division as the Local Primacy Agency for enforcement of the state drinking water requirements with respect to small public water systems. We also serve as a resource of information for owners of private domestic wells. The general objective of this program is to assure that domestic water supplies are safe, potable and available in adequate quantity and at sufficient pressure. There are over 200 small water systems in the County of Madera. These water systems include housing developments, apartments, mobile home parks, schools, businesses, camps, restaurants and mini marts. The Madera County Environmental Health Division's job is to make sure that all small water systems in the County deliver safe water to their consumers. We do this by issuing permits, conducting inspections and tracking water samples to make sure the water is free of certain bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that could cause illness. Also, we make sure that the water is free of certain chemicals that could also cause illness. Public awareness is also important and we require small water systems to report on their water quality. When there is a problem with water quality, consumers are notified and the small water systems must treat the water to make sure that it is safe to drink.
Ground Water and Private Water Wells
Frequently, private water wells tapping ground water resources can provide the highest quality water available to homeowners and businesses. Improperly constructed, altered, maintained or destroyed wells are a potential pathway for introducing poor quality water, pollutants and contamination to good-quality ground water. A permit is required from this division to drill wells and must be constructed by licensed C-57 well drillers. Our department ensures that all construction and installation of ground water wells are in compliance with Madera County Code.
The Food Safety and Consumer Protection Program consists of the following elements:
- Retail Food Facilities and Operations
- Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement
- Truth in Labeling, Food borne Illness, etc.
- Food Facility Plan Check and Construction
- Food Safety Education
- California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Food and Drug Branch
- California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law of the Health and Safety Code. The purpose of this program is to assure that food provided for human consumption is wholesome, properly labeled, advertised, and produced under conditions and practices, which are safe, sanitary, and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. California Retail Food Code (Cal Code) (revised January 1, 2018).
- California Retail Food Code (Cal Code) has completely replaced the state’s current food law (CURFFL) on July 1, 2007.
- See above for Food Facility Inspection Grading (Pilot Facilities only)
I would like to sell or give away food/drinks...... Do I need a health permit?
If you have any questions, please contact us at (559) 675-7823.
This category includes, but is not limited to: Restaurants, bars, bed & breakfasts, wineries, markets, and liquor stores.
- Food Safety Certification Required if unpackaged food is sold or given away.
- Annual Permit Required
Mobile food Facility
This category includes, but is not limited to: Lunch wagon, hot dog cart, ice cream vehicles, push carts . Must operate out of an approved commissary.
- Food Safety Certification Required
- Annual Permit Required
This category includes but not limited to: Food booth, concession trailer, farmer’s market & swap meets.
- Temporary Food Facilities can only operate at Community Events
- Event Permit Required
Certified Farmer's Market/Swap Meet
This category includes but not limited to: Mobile food facility, produce, certified grower, prepackaged, & dried ingredient.
- Mobile food facility need annual health permit.
- Event Permit Required
If you will be building or remodeling a food facility, then this office will need to review and approve construction plans before you begin construction. Please see Plan Review Construction Guidelines for fixed facilities.
The purpose of the Liquid Waste Program is to protect the health of the public and environment from the improper disposal of sewage systems; to educate the public on the proper operation and maintenance of sewage systems and to regulate septage haulers to assure proper disposal of septage.
- On-Site Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS)
- Advanced Treatment / Engineered Septic Designs
- Sewage Pumper Trucks
- Permitting, Inspections, Enforcement
Did you know about 25 percent of the U.S. population relies on decentralized-or onsite-wastewater treatment systems? About 95 percent of the onsite wastewater disposal systems are septic systems. Proper maintenance of your septic system helps to avoid potential system problems.
The State’s OWTS Policy became effective in May 2013 and requires local agencies to implement the statewide minimum standards of the OWTS Policy which provides provisions for low risk Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS), or develop a local program by adopting a Local Agency Management Program (LAMP). The LAMP may allow alternatives to the State Policy; however the LAMP must demonstrate that the standards achieve the same purpose as the OWTS Policy which is to protect water quality and public health.
On April 7, 2017, Central Valley Regional Water Board approved Madera County’s Local Agency Management Program for Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems under Order R5-2017-0044.
This letter will serve as notification to Qualified Contractors and Madera County residents that the implementation of Madera County’s LAMP and revised County Ordinance will be effective June 1, 2017. An electronic copy of the LAMP and revised County Ordinance will be available on Madera County Environmental Health’s website for review and download. A hard copy will be made available for pick-up upon request.
Moderate changes to note are as follows:
- New and/or replacement septic tanks -- The septic tank inlet compartment shall be easily accessible via a riser installed at or above finished grade. Risers and lids that are at or above grade must be watertight and lockable or require tools to be opened.
- Cesspools – The use of cesspools is prohibited. Upon the discovery of a cesspool, a destruction permit must be obtained and properly destroyed by a qualified contractor; an approved OWTS must be installed in its place.
- “Hollow” seepage pits – The installation of hollow seepage pits is prohibited. Upon the discovery of an existing hollow seepage pit, a repair permit must be obtained and the hollow seepage pit must be filled with rock by a qualified contractor.
- Setbacks – Updates to existing code section, see Appendix A of the approved LAMP.
- OWTS Deficiencies Guidelines – Chart to clarify whether permit is or is not needed for a deficiency for an existing OWTS; see Appendix H of the approved LAMP.
- New construction or remodel – All OWTS design proposals for both new construction and additions to an existing structure must show at least 100% reserve area for the active OWTS.
The purpose of this program is to protect the health of the public, health care facility personnel, and landfill personnel from exposure to medical wastes containing potentially communicable pathogenic organisms. This is accomplished by regulation of medical waste generators through inspection, complaint investigation, emergency response, enforcement, public education and assistance to industry.
- California Department of Public Health Medical Waste Management Program:
- Medical Waste Management Act – California Health and Safety Code Sections 117600-118360
The program consists of:
- Permitting, Inspection and Enforcement
The purpose of this program is to assure that all public recreational waters, public swimming pools, and spas are free of safety hazards, disease and life threatening occurrences.
The Recreational Health Program consists of these elements:
- Public Swimming Pools/Spas
- Public Pool Plan Check and Construction
- Fresh Water Recreational Areas
- Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement
The purpose of the Solid Waste Program is to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public and to preserve and improve the quality of the environment by assuring proper storage and disposal of solid waste. Link to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery's (CalRecycle) web page: www.calrecycle.ca.gov for information about waste reduction, recycling, and other solid waste management issues.
- Inspections, Permitting and Enforcement
- Solid Waste Facilities
- Fairmead Landfill, 21739 Road 19, Chowchilla, CA (559) 673-2225
- Mammoth Material Recovery Facility, 21739 Road 19, Chowchilla, CA (559) 673-2225
- North Fork Transfer Station, Road 274, North Fork, CA (559) 877-4226 or (559) 673-2225
- Emadco Disposal Service, Oakhurst, CA (559) 683-4680
As you know, household generated sharps cannot go in the trash, so what resources are available to the public generating sharps? CalRecycle has materials on-line to help.
Another great way to stay informed about the latest developments in CalRecycle's efforts to promote safe disposal of sharps waste is to join the Sharps and Pharmaceuticals Listserv.
"Reuse, Reduce and Recycle"- Find your closest recycling center at www.earth911.com or contact Madera County Public Works Department, Division of Solid Waste at (559) 675-7817.