Environmental Health Division Functions
Day Care Centers & Youth Camps
Inspections are performed for general sanitation requirements and recreational bathing facilities in conjunction with the State Department of Health.
Staff is available for response at all times through central dispatch at the Police Department. The Health Department participates as a member of the Emergency Management Team and develops and updates the annexes that the department is responsible for. All divisions are utilized when indicated for natural disasters or biological/chemical events.
All food and drinking establishments are licensed and inspected annually or more frequently if required. Routine sampling of potentially hazardous food and utensil swabbing is performed to determine bacteria content and sanitizing methods. Reported food and waterborne diseases are investigated in conjunction with the State Department of Health. Flood, fire, and loss of utility services to food establishments are also investigated.
Hazardous Substance Response
Releases of hazardous substances (biological or chemical) into the air, waters, or on land are investigated in conjunction with the Essex Regional Health Commission and according to homeland security guidelines and our emergency management plan.
The division performs annual inspections of long-term care centers, assisted living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and public and private schools.
The Environmental Health Specialists are also New Jersey licensed Lead Inspectors/Risk Assessors and enforce cases that meet the criteria for structural abatement when a child has elevated levels of lead in their blood. The environmental staff works with the Nursing Division throughout the investigation and will determine if the source of lead contamination is environmental. The staff will order an abatement notice and follow through until the hazard is eliminated.
These establishments and their employees must meet strict requirements of operation and are licensed and inspected annually.
The staff investigates and issues abatement orders for conditions that would contribute to mosquito breeding, such as stagnant water from abandoned swimming pools, tires, or containers. The Environmental Health Specialists work with Essex County Mosquito Control in areas that need treatment. Mosquitoes that feed on birds infected with the West Nile Virus may transmit this disease and other diseases to humans.
The environmental staff reviews plans for new food establishment construction and alterations to existing establishments. Inspectors also review plans for swimming pool and whirlpool construction, individual sewage disposal systems, and massage establishments.
The Township's drinking water is provided by the New Jersey American Water Company. Sampling data is required to ensure water quality and safety. Staff responds to residents with interruption in water service or complaints. Private water supplies, such as wells, must meet Department of Environmental Protection requirements. Inspectors also perform quarterly cross-connection inspections at locations that have both potable water service and private wells to ensure that the mechanical equipment that separates the two water supplies is working properly. Contact the New Jersey American Water company at (800) 652-6987.
Public Health Nuisance Complaints
Staff investigates and enforces all complaints for township nuisance ordinances, such as insect and rodent harborage, offensive odors, accumulation of organic material, obnoxious weeds (such as poison ivy and ragweed), or any matter that is detrimental to ones health or general well being.
The division is liaison to the Superfund project for the Township. Questions, advice, and literature regarding general radon information and testing is available to West Orange residents.
Recreational Bathing Places
The division inspects health clubs, country clubs, public swimming pools, whirlpools, including those at apartment and condominium complexes, for general sanitation, water quality, and waterfront safety. It focuses on maintaining standards for the municipal pool complex.
Individual sewage disposal system inspections are performed at new installations, alterations, or malfunctions in accordance with state requirements.
The division enforces specifications in the solid waste collection contract and investigates and enforces all refuse storage violations for residents and commercial properties. All solid waste complaints are investigated, and abatement orders are issued when needed.
Staff performs periodic stream pollution surveys and sampling of township waterways to note stream conditions and check bacteria content for contamination.
Tobacco Control Program
Three tobacco control programs are in place for the Township - The Tobacco Age of Sale Program, the enforcement of the New Jersey Smoke Free Air Act, and Smoke Free Kid Zones. Tobacco Age of Sale inspections are performed for the illegal sale of tobacco products to minors at local stores and businesses. Cigarette vending machines are also inspected for a supervised remote control device enforcing a local ordinance. Complaints are investigated regarding the sale of these products to minors. Beginning April 15, 2006, inspections and complaint investigations will be made to enforce the prohibition of smoking in workplaces and indoor public places and for required signage. Smoke Free Kids Zones are enforced at all Township parks, where smoking is prohibited by ordinance.
Investigation and surveys are performed for insect and rodent activity, and violations are ordered abated. Routine baiting of storm sewers is also performed for preventative and corrective purposes.