Environmental Health

Environmental Health Overview

Environmental HealthThe function of the Environmental Health Section is to identify health risks in the environment and implement solutions that eliminate or reduce risk. This includes investigating and containing diseases and injuries to reduce the incidence of illnesses and injuries, deter the spread of contagious diseases, and reduce the disabilities related to disease and injury.

Area of Program Jurisdiction

All land within the counties of Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam, including all State and Federal land, all incorporated cities, all National Scenic Areas within Wasco, Sherman, and Gilliam Counties, excluding the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

A) Inspections, Plan Review, Licensing, Enforcement, Complaints, technical assistance and formal training of the following:

  • Restaurants
  • Public Swimming Pools and Spas
  • Motels
  • Organization Camps and RV Parks
  • 65 Public Water Systems for communities under 3,300 people
  • Bed and Breakfast facilities
  • Temporary and benevolent restaurants

B) Epidemiological investigations of

  1. Food borne disease outbreaks
  2. Waterborne disease outbreaks
  3. Vector diseases such as Lyme disease, the Hantavirus, Rabies, etc.

C) On-Site Sewage Disposal

  1. Site evaluations for subsurface sewage disposal
  2. Construction permits for new systems and repairs
  3.  Repair technical assistance and evaluation
  4. Investigation of failing systems
  5. Pumper truck inspections
  6. Alteration permits
  7. Authorizations

D) Solid Waste

  1. Administer the Solid Waste Collection and Disposal ordinance for Wasco County
  2. Technical assistance to Sherman County Solid Waste Advisory Committee
  3. Solid waste complaints
  4. Waste shed representative for Wasco and Sherman Counties to DEQ
  5. Compile required recycle reports for Wasco and Sherman Counties to DEQ
  6. Hazardous materials accidents, consultation, and technical advice

E) Other

  1. Migrant Labor Camp – technical advice relating to garbage, water, and sewer

F) Vector Control Program was dropped in 1991 due to lack of personnel and liability.


Inspections are designed to identify safety risks in the environment that lead to bodily injury or disease. Some examples of these in the various programs are as follows:

A) Restaurants

  1. Toxic items properly used, labeled and stored
  2. Chemical concentrations
  3. Cross connections, back flow prevention
  4. Food temperature controls
  5. Cross contamination

B) Public Pools and Spas

  1. Structural condition
  2. Life saving equipment
  3. Water chemistry
  4. Pool accident reporting

C) Public Water Systems

  1. Construction of water source, distribution, and storage facilities
  2. The elimination of bacterial and viral routes of entry
  3. Water chemistry

D) Sewage

  1. Procedures to eliminate public health hazards due to sewage treatment failures.
  2. To ensure the existence of proper sewage treatment conditions on properties in Wasco and Sherman Counties in order to prevent public health hazards.

E) Solid Waste

Inspection of solid waste complaints to eliminate conditions that are conducive to vector production (such as skunks, rodents) which may carry diseases such as rabies and Hantavirus.