The housing program handles issues involving the home environment such as pests, general living conditions, and indoor air quality. The Ohio Department of Health has a page devoted to Healthy Homes and there is a lot of good information there.
“Housing” covers a broad range of topics and only so much can be included here. If your issue isn’t listed, please call us with any questions at 740-992-6626.
Some pest like cockroaches, mice, and fleas carry diseases while others like bedbugs do not. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the term used to describe how to handle the intrusion of these unwanted visitors into your home. An IPM system will eliminate any harborage conditions that may exist, therefore focusing on prevention as the key component. Once prevention has failed, an IPM system will try to eliminate the pest by using mechanical means such as traps or non-chemical treatments. IPM systems only use chemical treatments as a last resort or if other measures have already failed and an infestation is imminent or at hand.
Accessibility to water is a number one harborage condition for many pests. For example, a dripping faucet can attract roaches, and a clogged gutter can create the standing water a mosquito needs to lay eggs. Inspect your property and repair any condition that is causing excess moisture buildup.
The accumulation of garbage is also a harborage condition. Household garbage should be removed from your home frequently and removed from your property weekly. It will attract a variety of pests including flies, mice, and roaches.
Most pest related calls to the Health Department are about bedbugs.
If you found a bug and aren’t sure what it is, you can bring it to Health Department for identification. Please make sure it is in a sealed container!
The official word on bedbugs is that only professional pest control can eradicate an infestation. To be sure the pest control company you hire is licensed to treat for bedbugs, check with Ohio Department of Agriculture. And, even if you hire the best professionals to treat your home, it will not be effective unless you rid the infested area of clutter before the treatments begin.
Realistically, we know not everyone can afford to hire the pros. Click here for advice on what you can do to help control the infestation without spending hundreds of dollars. If you do try to fight the problem yourself, –DO NOT USE BUG BOMBS!! Not even the ones that say “for bedbugs”. They do not work and they make the problem worse by causing the bugs to spread out.
IF YOU HAVE A CONFIRMED BEDBUG PRESENSE IN YOUR HOME, HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF BEDBUGS BY FOLLOWING THE GUIDELINES BELOW:
Indoor air can be worse than outdoor air if conditions are not monitored. There are an endless number of pollutants that could affect the air inside your home. Radon, carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke, and mold are some typical examples. Poor indoor air quality can cause health problems, especially in children, elderly, immunocompromised, and those with pre-existing respiratory conditions.
Some tips to keep indoor air healthy for your family include:
For more info on indoor air quality, visit https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/introduction-indoor-air-quality
Most indoor air quality related calls to the Health Department are about mold.
Mold is everywhere. It is an important component of the environment because it helps to break down organic matter. No home will be completely mold free. However, too much mold, or some specific types of mold, could lead to negative health consequences. Therefore, it is important to minimize the amount of mold inside a home by ensuring that water leaks are quickly repaired and that any resulting mold is cleaned with a bleach and water solution. (Never mix bleach with ammonia, toxic fumes will occur!)
In some cases it may be necessary to discard items that have been saturated and cannot be effectively cleaned. Drywall that has been saturated in a flood is an example, it will generally need to be discarded. However, if an item is non-porous, it can usually be cleaned, sanitized and kept.
A word about “black mold“. According to the CDC, this species of mold only grows on material with a high cellulose and low nitrogen content, such as paper, fiberboard, or gypsum board. So, even if the mold on your cinder blocks is the color black, it’s not likely to be “Black Mold”. That said, any mold could cause health issues, especially in people who already have respiratory problems.
To handle most mold problems, the first thing to do is locate the source of moisture and stop it. Sources of moisture might include leaking roofs, leaking pipes, or condensation from water lines. Once the source is dried up, clean the mold with bleach and water. This will solve the majority of mold issues. NEVER MIX BLEACH AND AMMONIA!
More information about mold can be found at https://www.cdc.gov/mold/dampness_facts.htm
Keeping your home in good repair and clean will go a long way to providing a safe indoor environment. All homes require regular maintenance. Performing these tasks promptly can reduce the risks of accidents such as trips and falls, reduce the likelihood of pest intrusions, as well as help control the indoor air quality. Regular cleaning serves the same purpose. Click here for a CDC brochure about Healthy Homes
The most frequent calls about General Living Conditions are about lead.
Homes built before 1978 may contain lead based paints. By now, these paints are likely pealing or chipping. This can be a serious issue in homes with young children, especially toddlers, who like to put everything into their mouths. To help reduce the amount of toxic dust in your home, it is a good idea to frequently wipe down surfaces with soap and water.
Vacuuming (preferably with a good hepa filtered sweeper) and mopping can also reduce the amount of lead dust in a home. If paint is chipping, be sure to review the EPA’s lead safe work practices before making repairs.
Another common source of lead contamination in a home is from the water lines. In general, it is a good idea to let the water run a few minutes in the morning. This will clear out the water that has sat in the lines over night. The longer the water lays in the lines, the more time it has to absorb contaminates. This type of flush is especially important if the water is to be used for drinking, preparing baby bottles, or cooking.
For more info about lead in the home environment see https://epa.ohio.gov/pic/lead.
Another useful service provided to the community by the Health Department is the “Statement of Conditions” or SOC. A public health sanitarian will come to the home and document the conditions and write a letter stating what was seen. This is an unbiased document that can be used as evidence in court proceedings. The Statement of Conditions is most frequently requested by tenants or landlords when the other is not fulfilling their obligations under the lease agreement.
If you would like to schedule an inspection for a SOC call 740-992-6626 and ask for a Sanitarian. This service is offered free of charge.
The Environmental Division of the Meigs County Health Department oversees the installation, alteration and/or the operation of sewage treatment systems in Meigs County. These systems are normally referred to as HSTS (household sewage treatment systems) and SFSTS (small-flow sewage treatment systems). The department also registers all installers, service providers and septic tank cleaners.
Grant money is available to assist homeowners with the costs of replacing or making repairs to a failing system. Up to 100% cost coverage, based on income. Click here to view and download application. Return completed applications to the health department for consideration. For more information call 740-992-6626. *Note-this grant can only be used to replace or repair an existing system.
Private water systems includes drilled wells, cisterns, springs, and ponds. The Meigs County Health Department inspects newly installed systems and collects samples for bacterial analysis.