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Putnam County

Department of Health

A PHAB Accredited Health Department

The Putnam County Department of Health is made of several divisions all working towards improving and protecting the health of the entire community, through the lens of equity.

Environmental Health Services

Environmental Health Services promotes a clean and healthy environment by enforcing New York State and Putnam County Sanitary Codes, applicable laws, administrative rules, and regulations. This includes monitoring and regulating food service establishments and other public facilities. Regulations are enforced to ensure rabies control, lead poisoning prevention, and clean indoor air. Environmental quality is protected by health department staff as they monitor water quality, public water systems, sewage treatment plants, sewage disposal systems, solid waste facilities; approve realty subdivision plans and construction; provide environmental risk assessments; and rapidly respond to environmental emergencies.

Information for Residents

Environmental health services staff monitor certain establishments and enforce regulations to protect the health of Putnam County. From sampling water and inspecting restaurants and childrens camps, to performing home assessments for lead exposure, Department of Health staff strive to keep residents healthy by ensuring safe water, food, indoor air, and surroundings to limit injury and disease.
  • Children's Camp

    When a children’s program qualifies as a camp, the 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 New York State health regulations. Children’s camps must be inspected twice yearly by health department staff to ensure the physical facilities are safe, supervision is adequate, and the facility is in compliance with State Sanitary Code. Permits for camps are typically issued by the health department several days before they commence operations.

  • County Code Violations

    The enforcement program seeks to gain compliance with local and state health codes. Enforcement actions can range from informal office conferences and written agreements to formal hearings with an Administrative Law Judge. Property owners may have to pay a fine for a violation on their property. All efforts are made by health department staff to assist property owners in correcting a violation before a fine is issued.

  • Food Services

    Health department food program staff permit and inspect restaurants, delis, caterers, food trucks, hot dog carts, and temporary food events such as street fairs. Sanitarians check these food service establishments to ensure safe food handling and storage practices as well as proper food worker hygiene, facility cleanliness, and proper pest control. Inspectors ensure that food comes from an approved source and is being stored, cooked, cooled, and reheated at proper temperatures.

    Complaints regarding foodborne illness, improper food handling, cleanliness, and pests such as rodents or cockroaches at a food service establishment should be reported to the PCDOH as soon as possible by calling 845-808-1390.

    To view the inspection reports for food service establishments, please the NYSDOH Food Service Establishment Inspection website. The filter can be used to find all food service establishments in Putnam or to find a specific establishment.

    Those interested in preparing food in their home for sale to the public should view and follow the New York State guidelines. Please note that only certain food items are allowed to be made in a home kitchen if these food items are going to be sold to the public.

    Those interested in serving food at an event such as a street fair should contact the health department for approvals. All temporary food service operations must apply for a temporary food permit. The application can be found here and should be returned to the Putnam County Department of Health at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster, NY along with the application fee. New York State Codes and Regulations for temporary food service operations can be found here.

  • Lead Poisoning Prevention

    The Putnam County Department of Health conducts environmental lead investigations for children whose blood lead levels are equal to or greater than 5mcg/dL in an effort to identify the source of lead exposure. A Lead Risk Assessor investigates a child’s home and/or other places a child spends their time. Environmental investigations may consist of a visual assessment of risk areas, testing of painted surfaces, water and dust sampling, and other case-specific actions. Based on the results of the environmental lead investigation, the Lead Risk Assessor will provide the owner or landlord with recommendations on how to address lead hazards in the home.

    Lead exposure may come from paint in homes built before 1978, lead pipes in the plumbing of older homes, and even spices from outside of the United States. For more information about sources of lead, please click here. Additional information about lead poisoning prevention can be found through NYSDOH or CDC.

    Homeowners planning to perform work who suspect lead paint may be present can find a guide to lead-safe renovations here.

  • Mold Resources

    Molds, like most fungi, break down plant and animal matter in the environment. They can grow almost anywhere there is moisture and organic material: in soil, on foods and plants, and in people's homes. Molds release spores to reproduce, which can spread through air, water, or on animals. Exposure to mold can impact the health of some people.

    In most cases hiring a licensed mold assessment contractor is not necessary- most people can identify and clean mold growth themselves. However, some people may choose to hire a NYS licensed mold assessor to help identify mold problems and their cause. The assessor will often recommend a licensed mold remediation company to come in and clean the mold properly if needed. Prior to work starting, check that the company is licensed by the NYS Department of Labor to perform mold remediation by using this Licensed Mold Contractors Search Tool.

    Read more about mold:

  • Public Drinking Water Services

    The Putnam County Department of Health 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 New York State codes. For more information about drinking water, visit the NYS Drinking Water Protection Program website. Regulations can be found here.

    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 potability. Complaints can be filed by calling the health department at 845-808-1390.

    Under the Water Quality Improvement Initiative, the Putnam County Health Department assumes 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. 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 who are permitted by the health department.

  • Public Swimming Pools & Beaches

    The Putnam County Department of Health regulates public bathing facilities to protect patrons from injury, illness, and death. Program activities include routine comprehensive facility inspections; water sampling; periodic facility safety plan review and approval; drowning incident investigation; coordination of formal enforcement action; permitting operation at facilities and closing facilities when public health hazards exist; review and approval of engineering design and installation for new systems; complaint response and investigation; and providing technical guidance to owners, operators, lifeguards, contractors, and consultants. These efforts ensure that our bathing facilities are being operated, supervised, designed, and installed in accordance with regulations put in place to protect health and safety. More information about healthy swimming can be found through NYSDOH or CDC.

    For information about harmful algal blooms at swimming beaches or to view public beaches closures, click here.

  • Rabies Control

    Rabies is a deadly disease caused by a virus that attacks the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. Infected mammals can transmit the rabies virus to humans and other mammals and the disease is almost always fatal once symptoms appear. Fortunately, very few human cases are reported each year in the United States.

    Environmental health services staff investigate and follow up on all mammal bites, including those that have a higher risk of rabies transmission, such as bites from raccoons, skunks, foxes, bats, or feral cats. Dogs, cats, ferrets, and livestock that were bitten will be monitored by the owner for 10 days to ensure transmission of rabies did not occur at the time of the bite. After investigating a potential rabies exposure of a person, environmental health services staff assess the need for them to receive Rabies Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (RPEP). Upon approval for RPEP, environmental health services staff and clinical staff work together to provide education to the affected individual and their healthcare provider. A goal of the rabies program at the Putnam County Department of Health is to decrease the number of treatments through education.

    Further prevention information, as well as frequently asked questions, can be found here.

    In addition to using education and investigation to prevent rabies transmission, the health department hosts three free rabies vaccination clinics each year for cats, dogs, and ferrets of residents. The clinics are typically held in March, July, and November. For information about the next rabies vaccination clinic, please click here.

    Another rabies prevention effort conducted by the health department is participation in a Feral Cat Taskforce to humanely address feral cat colonies in Putnam. More information about the Feral Cat Taskforce can be found here.

    Information for veterinarians and healthcare providers can be found here.

    To report an animal bite or rabies exposure, please call 845-808-1390. If calling after normal business hours, press 3 to connect to the emergency hotline.

    For video instructions to capture a bat for rabies testing, please click here.

  • Recycling & Solid Waste

    For more information regarding recycling, please visit the Department of Health’s Recycling Website.

  • Septic Repairs

    Septic system failures are considered a public health hazard and requires immediate corrective or remedial action. The Putnam County Department of Health reviews all septic system repair permits prior to approval to make sure that system repairs are proposed and installed to meet applicable guidelines to the greatest extent possible. The health department requires testing in the form of soil test pits and/or percolation tests witnessed by a representative of the health department’s 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 health department staff prior to backfilling to further assure permit compliance. Please see below for frequently asked questions about septic repairs.

    Forms for this program can be found here.

  • Tick Prevention

    Lyme disease and other tickborne illnesses like anaplasmosis and babesiosis continue to be a prevalent health issue in Putnam County. Tick removal kits are distributed widely to local camp operators, the public during presentations, and to individuals who visit the health department. To see PCDOH program offerings and tickborne disease resources click the button below.

  • Tobacco Control

    Environmental Health Services staff enforce the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA) and Clean Indoor Air Act (CIIA) through compliance checks, routine inspections, and responding to resident complaints. To file a complaint about a tobacco sale to an underage person, please call the health department at 845-808-1390.

    For the current grant year April 2023- March 2024, the following facilities were found in violation of Public Health Law 1399-mm-1 (2): flavored vapor products available for sale:

    • Sauro's Deli, 1072 Rt. 311 on 4/13/23: 1st violation
    • Mobil , 1863 Rt. 6., Carmel on 4/20/23: 1st violation
    • JM Smoke Shop, Inc.,  141 Main St., Brewster on 4/20/23: 1st violation
    • Carmel Stop, Inc., 245 NY-52, Carmel on 6/24/23: 2nd violation
    • Sauro's Deli, 1072 NY-311, Patterson on 7/26/23: 2nd violation
    • Brewster Snack Shop, Inc., 978 Route 22, Brewster on 7/26/23: 1st violation
    • Cloud House Smoke Shop, 898 US-6, Mahopac on 1/10/24: 1st violation
    • Puffy Puff Smoke Shop, 936 South Lake Blvd., Mahopac on 1/10/24: 1st violation

    For a list of previous grant year violations, click here.

    For a list of state tobacco control reports, click here: https://www.health.ny.gov/prevention/tobacco_control/reports.htm

    For information about quitting tobacco, talk to a healthcare provider or call the NYS Smokers’ Quitline for free help at 1-866-NYQUITS (1-866-697-8487) or visit http://www.nysmokefree.com.

    More information about the New York State Tobacco Control program can be found here.

  • Additional Services

    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.

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

    Mobile home parks are monitored by health department staff 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 labor housing inspections are completed by the health department to ensure workers are provided with safe water, housing (i.e., fire safety, prevention of overcrowding, etc.), sewage disposal, and the ability to communicate during an emergency.

    Tanning facilities are licensed and inspected by Environmental Health Services staff. New York State regulations prohibit anyone under 18 years of age from using indoor tanning beds. Complaints against tanning facilities can be made by calling 845-808-1390. Before tanning, please read the Tanning Hazards Information Sheet.

    The Temporary Residence program monitors the fire safety, water quality, food service, aquatic safety, structural and operational concerns at hotels, motels, and retreat centers.  All operations are inspected annually to ensure compliance with the New York State Sanitary Code. Click here to view the most recent inspections.


FAQs about
Private Wells

Clean, safe drinking water is a life necessity. So, it is only natural for people to have questions about possible contaminants. This FAQ sheet was created by the Putnam County Department of Health (PCDOH) to help answer some of the most common questions about keeping private well water safe.

How do Putnam residents get water into their homes?

Basically, there are five ways of bringing water sources into one’s home:

  1. Drilled wells. These are the safest wells for several reasons. They are drilled into the aquifer and sealed so there is less chance of contamination. The tops of the wells are raised above ground and have a sanitary seal further protecting them.
  2. Below-grade well pits. These are wells in an underground pit. These wells may not have a proper sanitary seal at the top and adequate drainage. As a result, water can enter the pit, stagnate or sit, and lead to bacterial contamination of your drinking water.
  3. Hand dug wells. These wells are in a shallow pit with a pump at the bottom. These do not have any sanitary seal. The result is little to no barriers to contamination.
  4. The final private water source is water taken directly from a lake. This method is uncommon. It affords no barrier of protection from the possible pathogens or contaminants present in untreated surface water. Possible contaminants include waterborne parasites, bacteria, and harmful chemicals. These occur in older seasonal homes or previously seasonal, converted homes.
  5. Public water source: In New York, any system with at least 5 service connections or that regularly serves an average of at least 25 people daily for at least 60 days out of the year is considered a public water system. In New York state, local health departments, such as PCDOH, have regulatory oversight of public water sources.

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 the PCDOH role in ensuring safe drinking water in the county?

The health department’s role varies depending on the type of water supply. For private wells, the PCDOH has jurisdiction only when the well is drilled. Before drilling begins, a permit must be obtained through the PCDOH. As part of the application process the well’s location is approved based upon New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) requirements. These relate to separation distances from contamination sources and well construction standards. When the well becomes operational, the health department can serve as an important resource to advise residents about what to test for, how frequently, what the results mean, and possible treatment options if needed.

The most important substances to test for are bacteria, nitrates, and lead. Bacteria levels impact everyone and immune-compromised individuals may be at even greater risk. Nitrates and lead are of particular concern in households with esting for iron, manganese, and sodium is also recommended. Sodium may be an issue for those on a low-sodium diet.

The NYSDOH Fact Sheet on Individual Water Supply Wells recommends testing for the contaminants below. The fact sheet, which also lists the acceptable maximum contaminant levels or MCLs, is available here:  https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/regulations/fact_sheets/docs/fs3_water_quality.pdf

  • Arsenic
  • Chloride
  • Coliform bacteria
  • Lead
  • Nitrate
  • Nitrite
  • Iron
  • Manganese
  • Iron plus manganese
  • Turbidity
  • Sulfate
  • pH
  • Hardness
  • Alkalinity
  • Sodium
If I get my water tested, can the health department help me interpret the results and provide advice?

Yes. If you decide to get your private well water tested at a lab, the PCDOH will help you interpret the results. In this way, you gain a better understanding of what the results indicate, and if any action is recommended, what your options are. The PCDOH is here to be a resource to the residents of the County. A list of NYS certified laboratories that can perform testing is posted on the health department website.

Although the PCDOH does not regulate private wells, NYSDOH’s highly protective public drinking water standards can be used as guidance to reduce exposure from private well water contamination. People are exposed to PFAS mainly by drinking water and foods prepared with contaminated water. Based on current NYSDOH public water supply guidance for PFAS, people can continue to use the water as they have been with levels between 10ppt and 70ppt. However, once the levels exceed 70ppt, the recommendations are that people should not drink or prepare food with the water. Boiling is not an option since it is only effective for killing bacteria. Because exposure risk is low without ingestion, people can still use this water to shower, wash dishes and do laundry.

More general information is available here: “Test Your Well—Protect Your Family’s Water”

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.

How do I maintain my filtration system to ensure safe water?

It is important to always follow manufacturer’s guidelines. Filters are commonly available and need to be changed according to schedule. Test your water regularly. At this time, used filters can be disposed of in the regular trash.

Is there any other advice about protecting my well and my water?
  • Make sure to use all cleaning products properly and according to manufacturer’s directions. Proper application of all products, including spray products, is important.
  • Dispose of chemicals properly because both improper use and disposal can affect your water supply. Eventually anything that is used can affect the water supply.

The PCDOH hosts two Household Hazardous Waste Days annually to help residents dispose of many chemicals and other hazardous wastes. The department also participates in Medication Take Back Days to keep these hazardous items out of the environment. Information for both of these events can be found at putnamcountyny.com/health/recycle.

How can I find out more about my own well structure and placement?

Visit the Public Access Portal under “Land Records” on Putnam County Clerk Office webpage. With simply a tax map number, information about private wells is now available without a Freedom of Information (FOIL) request.

The direct link is: https://www.putnamcountyny.com/county-clerk?view=article&id=244&catid=14

You can also check with your Town's Building Inspector.

What is in my water that makes 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.

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.

FAQs about
PFAS & Private Wells

What is the history of PFAS chemicals?

PFAS stands for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They are a group of chemicals used to make coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. PFAS are a group of contaminants that has only been studied for the past decade. However, it has been in our environment for much longer. It's in Teflon, and items that are water or oil resistant. It has been in use for approximately half a century, and now it has gotten into the water cycle and in some places into the water table. This problem is widespread.

In 2020, the NYSDOH adopted an MCL of 10ppt (parts per trillion). This provided an added level of protection—significantly below the existing EPA advisory level of 70ppt at the time. Required testing of regulated water supplies began at the end of 2020. Levels detected varied throughout the county, and no results were over the EPA advisory level of 70ppt. As more research is done and information becomes available, it is possible these levels may change.

If I get my water tested for PFAS, can the health department help me interpret the results and provide advice?

Yes. If you decide to get your private well water tested at a lab, the PCDOH will help you interpret the results. In this way, you gain a better understanding of what the results indicate, and if any action is recommended, what your options are. The PCDOH is here to be a resource to the residents of the County. A list of NYS certified laboratories that can perform testing is posted on the health department website.

Although the PCDOH does not regulate private wells, NYSDOH’s highly protective public drinking water standards can be used as guidance to reduce exposure from private well water contamination. People are exposed to PFAS mainly by drinking water and foods prepared with contaminated water. Based on current NYSDOH public water supply guidance for PFAS, people can continue to use the water as they have been with levels between 10ppt and 70ppt. However, once the levels exceed 70ppt, the recommendations are that people should not drink or prepare food with the water. Boiling is not an option since it is only effective for killing bacteria. Because exposure risk is low without ingestion, people can still use this water to shower, wash dishes and do laundry.

More general information is available here: “Test Your Well—Protect Your Family’s Water”

Who is responsible for PFAS being in our water supply?

The truth is, we are all responsible. PFAS are present throughout our environment because of its widespread use over decades.

Who is responsible for the mitigation or fixing a PFAS problem?

When a private well needs mitigation, it is typically the homeowner's responsibility. PFAS is widespread in Putnam County, as it is across New York State and nationally. At certain preexisting contamination sites, the NYSDEC and the NYSDOH have sampled for PFAS. In these instances, multiple agencies work together to help address the problem and provide ongoing monitoring and evaluation and if needed, treatment.

What are the most effective water filtration systems for removing PFAS and other contaminants?

Water filtration units that use granulated activated carbon (GAC) and reverse osmosis filters (RO) are the most effective at removing PFAS contaminants. There are several options for filtration: a whole-house filter, a point-of-use filter, or a charcoal filter pitcher. When installing or using these products, look for an NFS/ANSI rating of 53. The website www.NSF.org  provides a way to search many devices that can be installed and the contaminants each removes. Maintaining the device according to the all the manufacturer’s recommendations is a must, whichever one you choose. More information on effective ways to remove PFAS can also be found on the NYSDOH site here: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/pou/

Should I be concerned if there are known PFAS sources in my neighborhood?

If your neighbor takes a water sample and the sample results are high, that does not mean yours will be high as well. The type and depth of an individual well are also important factors.

Likewise, if a nearby public water supply has a contaminant, this does not mean it will affect an individual’s home well. PFAS contamination needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Problems that can cause contamination can arise in the individual’s home well or plumbing.

If you have more questions on drinking water or other health-related questions, please contact the PCDOH at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


New Construction

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 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 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.


Septic Repairs

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?

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 any 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 dry wells 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?

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.


House Additions

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 tto 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.

Information for Businesses & Organizations

Environmental Health Services implements New York State and Putnam County Sanitary Codes, applicable laws, administrative rules, and regulations through education and enforcement. Ensuring safe food service establishments, certain public facilities, waste haulers, sewage treatment and disposal systems, and construction by providing education and guidance is the goal of Environmental Health Services staff.
  • Food Service establishments

    Putnam County Department of Health food program staff permit and inspect restaurants, delis, caterers, food trucks, hot dog carts, and temporary food events such as street fairs. Sanitarians check these food service establishments to ensure safe food handling and storage practices as well as proper food worker hygiene, facility cleanliness, and proper pest control. Inspectors ensure that food comes from an approved source and is being stored, cooked, cooled, and reheated at proper temperatures. Click here for Food Service Establishment Regulations and Laws.

    For those interested in constructing a new restaurant, deli, bakery, or café, or who will be converting a commercial space into a food service establishment, the septic system/sewer and water supply will need to be approved for use. For septic/sewer approval, please call (845) 808-1390 and ask to speak with an engineer. For water supply approval and to schedule appointment for water sampling, please call (845) 808-1390 and ask to speak with somebody in the water supply section. Water sampling fees may apply. Once the septic system/sewer and water supply have been approved for use, please use the Plan Development Guide for Food Establishment Construction or Renovation form and submit your kitchen plans with the kitchen plan review fee to Putnam County Department of Health, 1 Geneva Rd., Brewster, NY 10509.

    For those interested in renovating an existing food service establishment, please complete the Plan Development Guide for Food Establishment Construction or Renovation form and submit your kitchen plans with the kitchen plan review fee to Putnam County Department of Health, 1 Geneva Rd., Brewster, NY 10509.

    For a change of ownership for an existing food service establishment, please contact the health department at (845) 808-1390 and ask to speak with somebody in the food program to schedule a pre-operational inspection.

    For a new mobile food establishment, such as a food truck, trailer, or pushcart, please use the Mobile Food Vending Vehicles Design and Operational Requirements document and contact (845) 808-1390 and ask to speak with somebody in the food program to schedule a pre-operational inspection.

    For those interested in constructing a new grocery store or food market, or you will be converting a commercial space into a grocery store or food market, the septic system/sewer and water supply will need to be approved for use. For septic/sewer approval, please call (845) 808-1390 and ask to speak with an engineer. For water supply approval and to schedule an appointment for water sampling, please call (845) 808-1390 and ask to speak with somebody in the water supply section. Water sampling fees may apply. You must also contact New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for licensing through https://agriculture.ny.gov/

    For a change of owner of grocery store or food market, you must contact New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for licensing through https://agriculture.ny.gov/

    Those interested in preparing food in their home for sale to the public should view and follow the New York State guidelines. Please note that only certain food items are allowed to be made in a home kitchen if these food items are going to be sold to the public.

    Businesses interested in serving food at an event such as a street fair should contact the health department and the local town or village where they will be operating for approvals. All temporary food service operations must apply for a temporary food permit. The application can be found here and should be returned to the Putnam County Department of Health at 1 Geneva Road in Brewster, NY along with the application fee. New York State Codes and Regulations for temporary food service operations can be found here.

    Complaints regarding foodborne illness, improper food handling, cleanliness, and pests such as rodents or cockroaches at a food service establishment should be reported to the PCDOH by calling 845-808-1390.

  • Children's Camp Operators

    When a children’s program qualifies as a camp, the 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 New York State health regulations. Children’s camps must be inspected twice yearly by health department staff to ensure the physical facilities are safe, supervision is adequate, and the facility is in compliance with State Sanitary Code. Permits for camps are typically issued by the health department several days before they commence operations.

    Click here to view the 2024 Camp Operators Seminar.

    Air Quality Resources   

    • DOH website on smoke from fires: Exposure to Smoke from Fires 
    • These specific measures are a local decision, camp directors should know their local AQI forecast and alert level 
    • Follow DOH/USEPA AQI guidance 
      • Orange: 101-150: outdoor activities are ok for children but they should be shorter, less intense, take more breaks, watch for symptoms and follow all camper asthma action plans 
      • Red: 151-200: similar to above but further curtail intensity and length of outdoor activities and consider rescheduling or moving activities indoors - for day camps this may mean seeking indoor activities or canceling camp during a red or higher alert level.  
      • Purple and higher (>200):  avoid all physical activity outdoors, seek indoor options and follow indoor guidance regarding air conditioning, air purifiers, etc. as available.  Consider cancelling camp. 
    • NYS toll free air quality hotline: 1-800-535-1345   
    • For more information on asthma and asthma action plans:  

    NYSDOH developed a power point training for use during staff and camp operator training: NYSDOH Buddy System & Buddy Board Training. Speaking points and other supplemental information for each topic are included in the “notes” section of the presentation.

    INCIDENT REPORT FORMS: 

    REQUIREMENTS FOR CHILDREN’S CAMPS:  

    The Historical Drowning Data report presents data on fatal drowning incidents at regulated bathing facilities in New York State from 1987 through 2022. The report can also be found on NYSDOH's website.  

    For more information, please visit www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/camps.

  • County Code Violations

    The enforcement program seeks to gain compliance with local and state health codes. Enforcement actions can range from informal office conferences and written agreements to formal hearings with an Administrative Law Judge. Property owners may have to pay a fine for a violation on their property. All efforts are made by health department staff to assist property and business owners in correcting a violation before a fine is issued.

  • Land Development

    The Putnam County Department of Health 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 siting wells to maximize yields without drawing down existing known supply sources. The health department’s 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

    For information about residential onsite wastewater treatment (Appendix 75-A Wastewater Treatment Standards – Individual Household Systems) click here.

    To assure that development does not adversely affect the environment, the health 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.

    The land development program also includes all new construction projects of a commercial or industrial nature such as shopping centers, office complexes and manufacturing facilities.

    Additional information can be found above, and forms can be found here.

  • Lead Poisoning Prevention

    Lead exposure may come from paint in structures built before 1978 and in lead pipes in the plumbing of older buildings. Contractors who intend to renovate, repair, or paint homes, childcare facilities, or preschools built before 1978 and could disturb old lead paint must be EPA certified to complete the work. Information about the certification, and links to find a training provider, can be found through the EPA.

    If a child is found to have elevated blood lead levels, a lead risk assessor may investigate for the presence of lead at the childcare facility or preschool where the child spends their time.

  • Public Drinking Water Services

    Under the Water Quality Improvement Initiative, the Putnam County Health Department assumes responsibility for required sampling at all transient non-community water supplies. All required samples are collected by health department staff within the required time frame and in a standardized manner. To fund this service, 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 who are also permitted by the health department. The permit fee is based on the population served by each water supply. 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. The Putnam County Department of Health follows this procedure to ensure that water systems are operated by NYS-certified water operators with the correct certification for that particular water system.

  • Public Pools and Beaches

    Pre-operational inspections are conducted by Environmental Health Services staff at all swimming pools and 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. Click here for Public Recreational Water Regulations.

  • Septic System Contractor Licensing

    Article 3 of the Putnam County Sanitary Code provides for the licensing of septic system contractors. All installations of new separate sewage treatment systems as well as repairs on existing sewage treatment systems must be performed by a licensed septic system contractor. For information on becoming a licensed septic system contractor in Putnam County, please call 845-808-1390.

  • Tanning Facilities

    The Putnam County Department of Health licenses and inspects commercial tanning facilities and aims to increase public knowledge on the hazards of indoor tanning while minimizing user injuries and limiting tanning access by minors.

    New York State regulation Subpart 72-1 for the operation of indoor tanning facilities that use ultraviolet (UV) radiation devices were adopted on October 7, 2009, and amended August 16, 2018. 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.

    The 2018 Amendment prohibits the use of indoor tanning facilities by individuals less than 18 years of age. As such, anyone younger than age 18 is prohibited from using UV tanning facilities. Additional information about indoor tanning facility permitting can be found at www.health.ny.gov/environmental/indoors/tanning/

  • Tobacco Retailers

    Environmental Health Services staff enforce the Adolescent Tobacco Use Prevention Act (ATUPA) and Clean Indoor Air Act (CIIA) through compliance checks, routine inspections, and responding to resident complaints.

    Vaping Regulations
    Emergency regulations were adopted by NYS to protect public health in response to the increasing number of people that have suffered injury or died from severe respiratory illness associated with vaping. Effective September 12, 2019, any business that offers e-cigarettes or e-liquids for sale, must post this NYS Department of Health published sign in a conspicuous place.

Putnam County Office Building

40 Gleneida Avenue
Carmel, New York 10512

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