Every week, registered sanitarians from the Highland County Health Department travel the county responding to public health nuisance complaints, usually dealing with trash that is not being cleaned up or sewage coming from a failed septic system. These nuisances can cause diseases, rodent problems, harbor mosquitoes that can harm the public, and impact the community’s health in other ways as well. Enforcing our nuisance complaint laws is an important part of keeping our community a safe and healthy place to live.
The health department recently reviewed its files and data from recent nuisance complaints. An interactive map was developed from this information that allows the public to look at all the types and locations of nuisances in the county. This map is available at the health department’s website at www.highlandcountyhealth.org.
Over the past two years, the health department has investigated 82 nuisances in Highland County. Paint Township was responsible for 25 percent of these nuisances, followed by Liberty Township with 14 percent. This number doesn’t include the nuisances that were investigated and were not found to be valid.
The process for reporting these nuisances is simple. First a complaint from the community must be received in writing and signed by the person reporting the nuisance. A sanitarian then drives out to check on the complaint and see if it is valid. If it is valid, the sanitarian notifies the property owner of the nuisance and gives them a timeframe for cleanup. If the nuisance is not cleaned up by the deadline, the case is sent to the Highland County Prosecutor for civil prosecution.
The health department’s nuisance program is an important part of the public health services that are provided to the community. One of the Health Department’s sanitarians, Kyle Arn, said “The Nuisance Program at the Highland County General Health District is a major program in the Environmental Health Division. It is important because it assists in getting trash, solid waste, tires, and sewage nuisances cleaned up and abated, which protects the health and safety of the citizens of Highland County, as well as the environment and property values.”
By analyzing our data from the past two years, the health department can better understand where sanitarians spend their time, and how the health department can more efficiently work to promote, protect, and improve community and environmental health. For more information about the health department’s nuisance program, how you can report a nuisance, or for other information, call 937-393-1941 or visit www.highlandcountyhealth.org.
Jared Warner is the Highland County Health commissioner.