putnam county

PCDOH Environmental Health staff engage in many efforts to protect the health of Putnam County residents, including:

  1. Investigating complaints regarding reports of animal bites and human contact with suspect rabid animals, food borne illnesses, sewage failures, and mice and rat infestations.
  2. Arranging for pre-construction conferences and inspection of individual water supplies and sewage disposal systems for conformance to approved plans.
  3. Providing permits and inspections of food service facilities, children’s camps, campsites, parks, temporary residences, public events, swimming pools, bathing beaches, daycare centers and nursery schools.

Please browse below to learn more about Environmental Health services offered by our department.

If you have any questions, please call (845) 808-1390.

Facilities & Inspections

Children’s Camps

When a children’s program qualifies as a camp, our health department permits the program to operate legally, and ensures that it operates in compliance with the State Sanitary Code requirements. A permit is issued only when the camp is in compliance with the state’s health regulations. Children’s camps must be inspected twice yearly by a health department representative. Each camp is inspected to ensure the physical facilities are safe, supervision is adequate and the facility is in compliance with the NYS Sanitary Code.

NEW TRAINING FOR CHILDREN’S CAMPS: 

NYSDOH developed this power point training for use during staff and camp operator training.  Speaking points and other supplemental information for each topic are included in the “notes” section of the presentation.

2017 PROGRAM ISSUES:

REQUIREMENTS FOR CHILDREN’S CAMPS:  Amusement Devices.

Clean Indoor Air
Indoor Air investigations occur upon report of symptomatic illness. Testing is usually done for carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, volatile organic compounds, humidity and moisture.

Daycare Facilities
Daycare Centers are inspected for lead poisoning hazards, food safety, cleanliness, proper sewage disposal and safe water supply to protect the children and workers at these facilities.

Food Service Establishments
Protection of consumers health through unannounced inspection, compliant investigation, construction/renovation plan review and education. Routinely inspects all food service operations to assure compliance with specified time frames with local and State codes. Protects against practices that could lead to foodborne illnesses. Investigates complaints related to restaurants, delicatessens, bakeries, schools and community activities (fairs, carnivals).

Mobile Home Parks
PCDOH staff monitors mobile home parks for fire safety, water quality, sewage treatment, rodent nuisance control and dwelling structural integrity to ensure that park residents are provided with a safe and clean living environment.

Migrant Laborer Housing
Inspections are completed by our department to ensure workers are provided with safe water, housing (i.e., fire safety, prevention of overcrowding, etc.), sewage disposal and ability to communicate during an emergency.

Public Recreational Water Inspections

Pre-operational inspections are conducted by our department at all swimming pools &  beaches. Tripping hazards, fencing and gate repairs, as well as other structural improvements, are completed where required before permits are issued. Safety equipment and all required signage must also be in place prior to permit issuance.

All pools in Putnam County are sampled for chlorine and pH every three weeks. Additionally, beaches are sampled for fecal coliform every three weeks. All facilities are routinely checked for rescue equipment, structural safety and emergency procedures.

Tanning Facilities
Our Department licenses and inspects commercial tanning facilities, and increases public knowledge on the hazards of indoor tanning while minimizing user injuries and limiting tanning access by minors.

Statewide regulations (Subpart 72-1) for the operation of indoor tanning facilities that use ultraviolet (UV) radiation devices were adopted on October 7, 2009, and amended July 16, 2012. As a result, all UV tanning facility operators are required to obtain and display a valid permit to operate, and to meet the requirements contained in the regulation. The permit lasts for 2 years and each facility is required to be inspected once during the two-year period.

A parental consent form is required for those individuals between 17 and 18 years old. Anyone younger than age 17 is prohibited from using UV tanning facilities.

      1. Letter to Facilities
      2. Tanning Facility Regulations (Subpart 72-1)
      3. Tanning Hazards Information Sheet
      4. Tanning Facility Statement of Acknowledgement Form
      5. Tanning Facility Parental Consent Form
      6. Warning Poster- English/Spanish
      7. Injury and Illness Report Form
      8. Permit Application
      9. Workers Compensation and Disability Requirements
      10. Tanning Facilities Fee Determination
      11. Application Checklist for Tanning Facility Operators

Temporary Food Program
The Temporary Food program addresses event/fundraiser-type food service operations, which are often staffed by individuals with limited food handling knowledge. Our staff inspects for compliance and provides safe food handling education to volunteer workers.

Temporary Residences and Campgrounds
The Temporary Residence and Campground program monitors the fire safety, water quality, food service, aquatic safety, structural and operational concerns at hotels, motels, retreat centers and campgrounds. All operations are inspected annually to ensure compliance with the NYS Sanitary Code.

Tobacco Control
The Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA) and Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA) enforcement occurs by compliance checks, routine inspections and constituent complaints.

Land Development

land developmentOur health department provides required engineering review and construction inspection of proposed land development, assures compliance with codes for water supplies and sewage disposal, reviews all permit requests to construct wells for drinking water sources, and assists in sitting wells to maximize yields without drawing down existing known supply sources. Our land development programs include issuing permits for the following programs:

      • New housing starts
      • Realty subdivisions
      • Commercial buildings
      • Well permits for new homes
      • Well re-drills on existing homes
      • Sewage system repair permits
      • Additions to houses

Appendix 75-A Wastewater Treatment Standards – Individual Household Systems

To assure that development does not adversely affect the environment, our department continues to maintain specialized programs in the areas of land development, water supply and wastewater treatment. All projects proposing the utilization of water supply and/or sewage treatment facilities are required to obtain the necessary approvals prior to construction. The typical activities involved during project review include: field inspections; detailed engineering review and analysis of reports, plans and specifications; permit approval; and finally, inspection during different stages of construction.

Commercial and Industrial Developments
This program includes all new construction projects of a commercial or industrial nature such as shopping centers, office complexes and manufacturing facilities

 

Housing Additions

houseDue to the housing prices in this region, many homeowners in need of additional living space have found it more desirable to add on to their existing homes rather than purchase a larger home. To this end, we require the submission of plans for the proposed construction to determine if the existing well and sewage treatment system can accommodate any additional water usage. In some instances, the existing well and/or sewage treatment system are required to be upgraded.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need Health Department Approval to renovate or put an addition on my house?
Why is Health Department approval required to renovate an existing residence?
What if I need to increase the number of bedrooms?
What does the Health Department consider a “potential bedroom”?
Do I need to hire an architect to design the floor plan prior to applying to the Health Department?
Is there a fee for this process?
Will a finished room in the basement area be considered a potential bedroom?
I would like to add an accessory apartment to my existing single-family residence. Will I need to have my septic system enlarged if I convert one of the existing bedrooms to another use and add this bedroom to the apartment?
Is there an application process, and how long does it take?

Do I need Health Department approval to renovate or put an addition on my house?
Any renovation which involves a modification of an existing floor plan or any additions which increase the square footage of living area require approval by the Putnam County Health Department prior to the issuance of a building permit.

Why is Health Department approval required to renovate an existing residence?
Part of all Health Department approvals for Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) is the calculation of the potential occupancy of the residence. This is determined by the number of potential bedrooms within the structure. Floor plans for renovations or additions must be reviewed to ensure the total number of potential bedrooms are the same as the original certificate of occupancy.

What if I need to increase the number of bedrooms?
If the number of potential bedrooms will increase, the Subsurface Sewage Treatment System must be designed by a professional engineer or registered architect, meeting all present code requirements. The plans must be reviewed and approved prior to the issuance of a building a permit.

What does the Health Department consider a “potential bedroom”?
Any room which could potentially be used as a bedroom may be considered a bedroom by the Department. For example, an office, den, computer room, exercise room and possibly a family room may be considered potential bedrooms. The location of the proposed room is a major factor in this consideration. For example, an office on a second story with other bedrooms will always be considered a potential bedroom.

Do I need to hire an architect to design the floor plan prior to applying to the Health Department?
No. The Department will review non-professional sketches of the proposed floor plans.

Is there a fee for this process?
Yes. The fee for Health Department review is $100.

Will a finished room in the basement area be considered a potential bedroom?
In some cases, yes. If there is a full bath in the basement area, any room located in this area may be considered a potential bedroom. Traditionally, open recreational rooms in basement areas are not considered potential bedrooms.

I would like to add an accessory apartment to my existing single-family residence. Will I need to have my septic system enlarged if I convert one of the existing bedrooms to another use and add this bedroom to the apartment?
In most cases, you will be required to hire a professional engineer to design a Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS). The addition of an accessory apartment is considered to be a “change in use”, as well as an increase in potential occupancy. The addition of a second kitchen and possibly an additional washing machine may increase the potential flow to the existing septic system.

Is there an application process, and how long does it take?
Applications are available at the Putnam County Health Department, 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, New York 10509. Call (845) 808-1390. You may also pick up an application at the individual Town Building Departments. Generally, review can be completed in less than one week.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead poisoning is preventable. Exposure to this poison is a serious health problem, especially for young children. One of the most common ways children come in contact with and swallow this toxin is from playing on the floor. Contaminated dust may collect from lead paint, which was often used in older homes (built before 1978). Lead dust can form simply by opening and closing windows covered lead paint, or with home remodeling. Another way is through contaminated drinking water that comes through old plumbing and lead pipes.

For more information about lead in drinking water, visit the FAQ page with answers to common questions.

New FREE lead testing of home water is now available through the New York State Department of Health. For more information, please visit the NYSDOH website.

Even small amounts of lead can contribute to behavior problems, learning disabilities and lowered intelligence.

Because an increasing number of epidemiological studies have shown that blood lead levels between 5 and 10 mcg/dL in young children are associated with learning disabilities, behavior problems, and lowered intelligence, the New York State Department of Health now requires laboratories to advise providers that this range is no longer considered safe.

We work closely with primary healthcare providers to ensure lead poisoning prevention, testing, risk assessment, and referrals to lead treatment centers. By public health law, children ages 1-2 should receive blood lead testing. If appropriate, children up to age 18 and pregnant women should also be screened for lead exposure and tested.

Lead Case Management

We initiate nursing and environmental home inspection that includes a developmental screening and a nutritional status assessment. We provide risk reduction, nutrition, and developmental education information to families, and refer families to other agencies when appropriate.

Lead testing is offered to parents with children 12 months up to 6 years of age. Children with elevated blood levels receive Environmental Health and Nursing services. Environmental staff confuct an investigation to identify lead hazards in the child’s environment and recommend interventions to mitigate the source of the exposure. The Nurse Case Manager coordinates services and provides referrals for further testing, developmental screening, and nutritional guidance. Lead poisoning prevention education is provided to parents, health care providers, educators, day care providers and the community to prevent lead poisoning which can slow, harm or delay normal development and cause illness, injury, and death in children.

flickr Identify recalled productsTwitter Follow the Consumer Product Safety CommissionClick here for more information about lead poisoning

 

 

New Construction

new construction

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I get my lot approved?
How long does it take?
How much does it cost?
How long does approval last?
What makes an approval invalid?
What standards and/or policies are used for the design of Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) and water wells?
If my property is located within the New York City Watershed, what role will the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) have in the review of my project?


How do I get my lot approved?
Hire a New York State licensed Professional Engineer. They can be found in the yellow pages under:

      • Engineers, Professional
      • Engineers, Consulting
      • Engineers, Civil
      • Engineers, Sanitary

Registered Architects and Land Surveyors with an “N” exemption may also design septic systems. Your engineer will complete a design for your septic system and well location onto a blueprint. The design will be based on the size of your house (number of bedrooms), the topography of the land, the neighboring wells and septic systems, and the type of soil on the lot (including depth to rock or groundwater).


How long does it take?
This depends on the complexity of the project and may take months. However, initial review of the submitted plans is undertaken within two to four weeks.


How much does it cost?
Your design professional, survey, testing and construction will also cost money.


How long does approval last?
Putnam County Health Department approved construction permits are valid for two (2) years from the date of issuance and can be renewed via a construction permit renewal application. Subdivision approvals are valid for five (5) years from the date of approval and can also be renewed.


What makes an approval invalid?
Natural and manmade problems can invalidate a map. For example, removing (mining) the soil from the proposed septic area invalidates the map since the soils which the approval was based upon are no longer there. Changes in drainage can cause a lot to be wetter now than when the approval was granted, thereby resulting in ground and surface water conditions possibly not being met. Mistakes were made while drafting the plans. Misrepresentation and/or errors on a map invalidate the approval. Check to see that the map has been legally filed with the County Clerk’s Office. Even though a map may be signed by the Putnam County Department of Health, it is not valid until it is filed.


What standards and/or policies are used for the design of Subsurface Sewage Treatment Systems (SSTS) and water wells?
The County Health Department utilizes the standards contained in 10 NYCRR Part 75, including Appendices 75-A and 75-B for the design of individual wastewater treatment systems and individual drilled wells. The Health Department has also developed policy and procedure documents for individual single-family residences (Bulletin S-19), realty subdivision (Bulletin RS-21) and commercial development (Bulletin CS-31) projects.


If my property is located within the New York City Watershed, what role will the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) have in the review of my project?
Under the “Delegation Agreement between the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and the Putnam County Health Department”, all applications for SSTS will be forwarded to the Health Department. The Health Department will determine if the proposed project is delegated to the County or is a “joint” review between the County and the DEP, as defined in the Agreement. The applicant’s engineer will only have to deal with one agency, the Health Department, during the review process, and only one approval will be issued by the Health Department on behalf of both agencies.

Public Water Services

PutnamMahopacLakeSecorMahopacOur department reviews operations, provides surveillance of 121 community water systems serving 45% of the County population, responds to problems such as low pressure and outages, and performs special surveys to assure compliance with State codes.

Click here for more information about public water supply.

Drinking Water Enhancement
The Drinking Water Enhancement program monitors the operation of Putnam County community and non-community water supplies. Non-community water supplies are inspected at least every 3 years while community water supplies are inspected on an annual basis. This program also investigates complaints throughout the year regarding aesthetics and portability.

Water Quality Improvement Initiative
Under the Water Quality Improvement Initiative, as of January 1, 2006, the Putnam County Health Department has assumed responsibility for required sampling at all transient non-community water supplies. This project has improved the water quality at small facilities such as restaurants, delis, markets, small offices, sports clubs, and other regulated facilities.

All required samples are collected within the required time frame and in a standardized manner. To fund this project, each small water supply is charged a $400 service fee. This service fee covers laboratory fees, cost of sampling and correspondence.

Large commercial buildings with more than 25 employees (Non-Transient Non-Community Water Supplies, NTNCWS) and Community Water Supplies (CWS- residential) are required to be operated by professional NYS-certified water operators. These facilities are now required to obtain a Water Supply Permit from the Health Department. The permit fee is based on the population served by each water supply.

Water Operator Certifications
All community and non-transient non-community water systems must be operated by State-certified water operators. Operator requirements for different classifications of water plants are specified in Subpart 5-4 of the NYS Sanitary Code. Applications for water operators working in Putnam County are reviewed by the Department for accuracy, completeness and required experience. Once approved, the applications are forwarded to the NYS Department of Health for final approval and certificate issuance. In this way, the Department ensures that water systems are operated by NYS-certified water operators with the correct certification for that particular water system.

Well Permit Program

water supply

Our department reviews and approves permits for the drilling of replacement wells for potable purposes at existing residences in accordance with Article X of the Putnam County Sanitary Code. Currently, water testing analyses are not required for replacement wells in Putnam County.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Should I test my well water to make sure it is okay?
If I have water supplied by a private company or the Town, how can I be sure if it meets standards?
What is in my water that makes all my pots and pans powdery?
Why does my water look white or milky?
Why does my well water smell like rotten eggs?
What do I do if I find that I have bacteria in my well water?
NYS Certified Laboratories for Drinking Water and Waste Water Analysis

Should I test my well water to make sure it is okay?
If you are in a residential neighborhood with no source of contamination within 100 feet of your well, you should probably only need to test for bacteria. Especially shallow wells (less than 100 feet deep) may be affected by seasonal changes and may be prone to bacterial contamination. Twice a year, coliform bacteria should be checked. Lists of local laboratories are available by calling (845) 808-1390. If you have concerns about nearby sources of contamination that may affect your well, contact the Putnam County Health Department.

If I have water supplied by a private company or the Town, how can I be sure if it meets standards?
All private and municipal water companies that serve five or more homes are required to conduct all testing required by Subpart 5-1 of the New York State Sanitary Code. This includes bacteria, volatile organic compounds, metals and inorganics, pesticides, radiological parameters, lead and copper, etc. The County Health Department monitors results and requires corrective action and notifications.

What is in my water that makes all my pots and pans powdery?
The majority of wells in Putnam County are deep rock wells. Salts from the minerals in the rock which are not harmful to drink may leave a film or powdery deposits on dishes and pots. These are salts that form from the minerals in the rock. Water softeners may help solve this problem, but there are no guarantees.

Why does my water look white or milky?
If you pour a glass of water and it looks white or sudsy, let it sit a few minutes. The white color will gradually disappear, leaving clear water. Sometimes too much air is dissolved into the water as it leaves your pressure tank. If you get your water from a water supplier, an excessive amount of air may be added by booster pumps in the system. Don’t be concerned unless the pressure is less than adequate.

What do I do if I find that I have bacteria in my well water?
Most cases of bacterial contamination are from surface runoff getting into the well because of a broken sanitary seal, pit with no seal, broken casing, etc. If the well construction is adequate and bacterial contamination still persists, the well should be disinfected with chlorine using a procedure available at the County Health Department. Seasonal variations in the groundwater table may require that wells be disinfected annually. A permanent method of disinfection that can be employed if bacteria problems persist is the installation of an ultraviolet light.

Why does my well water smell like rotten eggs?
The “rotten egg” smell of sulfur can be caused by two sources. The most common is iron bacteria which thrive in the iron-rich well water, giving off sulfur dioxide. This problem can be solved by disinfecting your well using the procedure available at the County Health Department. The less common source for sulfur smell in water is from wells that are drilled into sulfur deposits in the rock. This problem can be solved by installing available treatment systems.

Septic Repairs Program

Septic repairs have continued to be increasingly more active in Putnam County as a result of many of the older septic systems reaching the end of their life and exhibiting failure. Septic system failures are considered a public health hazard, which is defined as an existing or imminent condition which can be responsible for or cause illness, injury or death, and for which immediate corrective or remedial action is required. Our department reviews all septic system repair permits prior to approval.

The primary goal of our department in requiring a septic system permit approval for all remediated septic systems is to ascertain that system repairs are proposed and installed to meet applicable guidelines to the extent possible. To achieve the desired outcome, the department requires all soil testing in the form of soil test pits and/or percolation tests to be witnessed by a representative of our Engineering Staff. The results of the soil testing are then utilized by the department and the septic system contractor to determine the appropriate type of repair for the failed septic system. Upon approval of the repair permit, the repaired septic system is inspected by our staff prior to backfilling to further assure permit compliance.

Septic System Contractor Licensing Program
Our department revised Article 3 of the Putnam County Sanitary Code in 2007 to provide for the licensing of septic system contractors. The revised Article 3 now requires that all installations of new separate sewage treatment systems as well as existing sewage treatment systems be performed by a licensed septic system contractor.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Health Department approval required for the repair or replacement of an existing septic system?
What is required to obtain approval for a repair to an existing septic system?
Is Health Department approval required to routinely have my septic tank pumped out?
When must I hire a professional engineer to design and supervise the installation of a Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS)?
Can the discharge from a washing machine or slop sink be discharged into a storm drain on the surface of the ground or in an area away from the existing septic system?
Are separate drywells for washing machines legal?
Can I repair my own septic system?
Is there any fee for obtaining a repair permit from the Health Department?
Is a repair permit the same as Board of Health Approval (BOHA)?

Is Health Department approval required for the repair or replacement of an existing septic system?
The repair or replacement of any component of a Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS) requires prior approval by the Putnam County Health Department. This includes septic tanks, pump chambers, absorption trences, drywells, etc?

What is required to obtain approval for a repair to an existing septic system?
A repair permit must be filed for and approved by the Putnam County Health Department. Applications are available by contacting the Putnam County Health Department at 1 Geneva Road, Brewster, New York 10509 or by calling (845) 808-1390.

Is Health Department approval required to routinely have my septic tank pumped out?
No. Routine pumping of a septic tank, snaking or cleaning of existing sewer lines, and replacement of sewage pumps is considered routine maintenance and does not require prior approval by the Department. All pumping services must be registered with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Putnam County Health Department, and Putnam County Department of Consumer Affairs. All service or replacement of existing plumbing must be performed by a licensed plumber.

When must I hire a professional engineer to design and supervise the installation of a Subsurface Sewage Treatment System (SSTS)?
A professional design is required for a SSTS for the following:

      • New construction on vacant land.
      • Replacement or repair of Sewage Treatment System serving commercial buildings.
      • An increase in the potential occupancy of a residence, i.e. adding a bedroom or adding an accessory apartment.
      • Relocating a SSTS to a different area of the parcel.
      • Expanding a Sewage Treatment System beyond the area of the existing septic system.
      • A professional engineer may also be required for systems that have a history of several failures.

Can the discharge from a washing machine or slop sink be discharged into a storm drain on the surface of the ground or in an area away from the existing septic system?
No. The discharge from any indoor plumbing fixture, including showers, sinks and washing machines is considered sewage, and must be discharged only into an approved septic system (SSTS).

Are separate drywells for washing machines legal?
If a separate drywell exists, it may be repaired or replaced by obtaining a permit from this Department.

Can I repair my own septic system?
If the homeowner has the experience and equipment to repair a Subsurface Sewage Treatment System, this Department will issue repair permits to the owner of the property. If a contractor is hired, he must obtain the necessary permits and be registered with both the Putnam County Health Department and the Putnam County Department of Consumer Affairs.

Is there any fee for obtaining a repair permit from the Health Department?
Yes. A fee of $150.00 is required in the form of a bank check or certified check. No personal checks or cash please.

Is a repair permit the same as Board of Health Approval (BOHA)?
No. BOHA infers that the Sewage Treatment System meets all present code requirements. A repair permit is issued for the repair or replacement of existing components of an existing septic system. These components may or may not meet present code requirements.