Public & Environmental Health

Within the area of the District Council of Mount Remarkable, Council has a legislative duty of care to promote proper standards of public health to ensure that food premises are operated and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and that food for sale is safe and suitable to eat. In keeping with this duty of care, Council's Environmental Health Officer undertakes a variety of tasks which are divided into the two areas of public health and food safety.

Food Safety

We are fortunate in Australia to have access to an abundance of fresh foods and our cultural diversity is reflected in the many different styles of foods we eat. Unfortunately, many of these foods, if not properly handled, can provide food poisoning organisms the perfect opportunity to grow and so contaminate the food. This contaminated food, if eaten, may result in sickness that can range from a minor stomach upset through to an extremely severe, life threatening illness.

Council's Environmental Health & Compliance Officer may (if substantiated) investigate cases of food related illness where the ill person usually blames restaurant meals or take away foods. While commercially produced food can be the cause of illness, investigation reveals that poor food handling practices at home is often a significant factor.

Should you think you have food poisoning, seek medical help immediately. The doctor will require a stool sample (faecal sample) to confirm that you have food poisoning.

Click here for a list of Departmental Fact Sheets

Food Businesses

All businesses selling food are required to "notify" their local council. Under the Food Act 2001, a food business means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a primary food production business) that involves:
(a) the handling of food intended for sale; or
(b) the sale of food
regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.

Food business even includes businesses like chemists, cinemas, delicatessen, canteens, child care centres, liquor stores, video stores, petrol stations and swimming pools, if they sell packaged or any other type of food. Food businesses, from major food manufacturers to the local church group or sporting club that holds a once per year food fair, have defined responsibilities under the legislation to ensure the safety of food.

Mobile food businesses will notify the council in which the vehicle is normally garaged.

How does a food business notify?

Please contact Council to obtain a Food Business Notification Form. There is no fee to notify and notification is only required once, however any change in details must be updated with Council.

Please note that a food business must notify Council of food handling operations before they commence. [Refer to Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 Division 2 Clause 4]

If you operate an existing business that has not "notified" please contact the council for assistance at District Council of Mount Remarkable, Stuart Street Melrose.

The Food Safety Standards are available in PDF format from the Food Standards Australia web site. There are numerous other fact sheets and food related articles available also. Food Standards Code

There are over nearly 100 registered food operations within the District Council of Mount Remarkable area including supermarkets, food processors and growers as well as delicatessens, restaurants and takeaways, child care centres, service stations, school canteens, clubs and hotels, nursing homes and major processing plants.

Working under the jurisdiction of the Food Act and Regulations, Environmental Health Officers routinely inspect food premises, investigate reports of food poisoning, and respond to customer complaints relating to food safety and conduct food safety education programs in schools and food premises.

Food Business Notification Form Food%20Business%20Notification%20Form (71 kb)

Public Health

Council Environmental Health Officers administer the Public and Environmental Health Act 1987 and associated Regulations and undertake to promote public health through the prevention of disease, environmental protection and the control of insanitary conditions.

Some of the more common issues dealt with by Council's Environmental Health Officers are briefly discussed below and include links to more detailed information.

  Onsite Wastewater Control Systems

 An onsite wastewater control system is a means of disposing of your effluent when there is no sewer or Community Wastewater Management Scheme available.

Forms are available for download from this website by clicking here.

Waste control systems are designed, installed and operated using the following prescribed Codes. Please click on any of the below links to download a copy of the relevant code. 

For details on setback distances for Septic Tank Systems, please refer to page 19 and page 35 on the below link:

Waste Control Systems Standard for the Construction, Installation and Operation of Septic Tank Systems in South Australia, and

Supplement A ~ Aerobic Sand Filters

For details on setback distances for Aerobic Wastewater Treatment Systems, please refer to page 11 on the below link:

Supplement B ~ Aerobic Wastewater Treatment Systems

A septic tank or aerobic wastewater system must be an approved product for sale and installation in South Australia. It is important that you check with the manufacturer or supplier that the unit is an approved system. See Approved Products list

Regular maintenance of an onsite wastewater system is important for its efficient operation. If you have a property with a septic tank system or aerobic wastewater system and would like to know more about the maintenance of these systems the Department of Health has prepared the following information:

Waste Control Systems Standard for the Construction, Installation and Operation of Septic Tank Systems in South Australia

Maintenance of Septic Tank Systems

Maintenance of Aerobic Wastewater Systems

The Australian Standard AS/NZS 3500 (Sections 1, 2 and 5) Plumbing must be complied with during the installation of a system.

The standard can be obtained from: Standards Australia 63 Greenhill Road, Wayville SA 5034 Ph: 1300 65 46 46

For any further enquiries or clarification, please don't hesitate to contact the Environmental Health & Compliance Officer on (08) 8666 2014 or email ehco@mtr.sa.gov.au

High Risk Manufactured Water Systems (HRMWS)

The Public and Environmental Health (Legionella) Regulations 2008 and Guidelines for the Control of Legionella in Manufactured Water Systems in South Australia came into operation on 1 October 2008. This legislation impacts all Building Owners that have new or existing Cooling Towers, Evaporative Condensers and/or Warm Water Systems, collectively referred to as High Risk Manufactured Water Systems (HRMWS) located on their premises.

The Regulations have been developed to protect public health through the proper management and operation of HRMWS. Poorly managed systems can support the growth of Legionella bacteria, the cause of Legionellosis (Legionnaires' disease). http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/Youve-got-what/ygw-legionella-pneumophila.pdf

Listed below is a summary of the new laws applying to the operation and maintenance of HRMWS. Building Owners are encouraged to read the Regulations and Guidelines to ensure they are fully aware of their legislative obligations.

Effective 1 October 2008
All new HRMWS must be registered with Council within one month of commissioning. 
Systems must be operated and maintained by competent persons
The detection of Legionella in excess of defined levels must be reported to council within 2 hours

Before 1 April 2009
All exisiting HRMWS must be registered with Council.
Automatic biocide dosing

Before 1 October 2009
Drift eliminators must be fitted to each cooling water system (unless determined otherwise by the Minister)

A number of Fact Sheets, Reporting & Application Forms and General Information is available by clicking on the folliwng links:

Fact Sheets

Is my heated water system captured under the Legionella Regulations?

Decontamniation of HRMWS

What is a Cooling Water System?

Compliance Inspections of HRMWS by a Third Party

Draft Swimming Pool-Spa Bath Connections to a CWM Scheme 2014

Reporting Forms

Legionella Detection Reporting Form

Application Forms

Alternative Maintenance Procedure for Cooling Water Systems

Alternative Decontamination Procedure for Cooling Water Systems

Alternative Decontamination Procedure for Warm Water Systems

Drift Eliminator Exemption for Cooling Tower

General Information

Legionnaires' Disease - Reducing Risks in the Home

Enjoy Gardening Without the Risk of Legionella

For more information, please visit http://dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/legionella-regulations-guidelines.htm

Rats

Rats are a well-known risk to public health due to their ability to spread a variety of serious diseases. They can also cause significant damage to properties due to their need to keep their teeth short by gnawing. Rats are usually nocturnal and if seen during daylight hours usually signify a large rat population, an abundance of food or the rats may be affected by poison bait. Environmental Health Officers investigate reports of suspected rat infestations and if necessary may require the owner or occupier of premises to carry out work on the premises such that rat harbourage is minimised. Compliance with such requests is encouraged, as non-compliance may result in an Insanitary Conditions Notice being served. Penalties may apply.

Animals

Environmental Health Officers are often called to investigate offensive odours on domestic premises when dog faeces are not being properly disposed of. In addition to the smell causing offence to neighbours, animal faeces left in gardens may provide a food source for pests and is considered insanitary if not properly managed. Any person allowing such an offensive condition may be issued with a $300 expiation notice (fine) under the Public and Environmental Health Act 1987. Dog faeces should be picked up and properly disposed of in a sanitary manner at a minimum of once a week. If you have a large dog or numerous dogs on the property, you will need to do this more frequently. It is recommended that the faeces is disposed of in a garbage bag, tied up, and disposed of in you weekly rubbish bin.

Hairdressers, Beauty Salons & Tattooists

The District Council of Mount Remarkable has a number of premises that are considered to practice hairdressing and/or skin penetration. These businesses should notify Council of their existence so that they can be inspected to ensure they have safe and hygienic practices. Having updated contact details will allow Council to provide them with any changes in legislation, codes of practice, or guidelines when necessary.

The Department of Health has produced Guidelines on the Public Health Standards for Hairdressing and Guidelines on the Safe and Hygienic Practice of Skin Penetration. These can be found at:

Hairdressing

http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/publications/hairdressing-guideline-april06.pdf

Skin Penetration

http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/publications/skin-penetration-guide-10feb05.pdf

Head Lice

Surprisingly there still appears to be a social stigma associated with the occurrence of head lice in children. Lice infest males and females of all socio-economic positions and age groups. Environmental Health Officers are available to give advice on the proper treatment of head lice.

The two most common headlice treatment methods are 'wet combing' and 'chemical' treatment:
*  'Wet combing' involves wetting hair and scalp liberally with hair conditioner to stun the headlice, then combing the headlice and nits out
*  'Chemical' treatment uses 'pediculicides' which kill the headlice.

There is an abundance of material about headlice that can be accessed at http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/branches/headlice/headlice-index.htm

Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes have long been considered a nuisance, particularly when their invasive biting disrupts social gatherings at home. Certain types of mosquito are known to transmit diseases such as malaria in the tropics and closer to home, Ross River Fever. Council does however receive complaints from time to time alleging mosquito breeding in swales, creeks, poorly maintained swimming pools and rainwater tanks. Following a few simple rules will eliminate mosquito-breeding sites and provide personal protection against their bites.

The Department of Health has developed "fight the bite" resources that can be found at http://www.dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/publications/mozzies-fight-bite.htm

Swimming Pools and Spa Pools

Public swimming pools and spa pools are routinely monitored to ensure that the water quality complies with the legislative requirements and that the facilities are properly maintained. There are no legislative controls that deal specifically with water quality in private pools and spas but should these facilities be not properly maintained on private premises (e.g. allowing mosquito breeding in dirty pool water), Council's Environmental Health Officers may require the owners to take action under the Public and Environmental Health Act.

Combustion Heaters

During winter months Council sometimes receives complaints about smoke generated from combustion heaters. This is usually as a result of inefficient use of the heater and/or the burning of unseasoned or damp wood. Put simply, smoke is unburnt fuel, which, in addition to wasting your money, may cause annoyance or distress to neighbours and pollute the environment.

The Environment Protection Agency provides information about combustion heaters (solid fuel fires) on their publications page at www.environment.sa.gov.au/epa/pub.html

Any complaints regarding combustion heaters should be directed to the Environment Protection Agency on (08) 8204 2000.

For more information, please contact:
  The Department of Health, www.deh.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/woodsmoke/
  The Environment Protection Agency, www.epa.sa.gov.au/woodsmoke
  The Australian Heating Association, Ph: (08) 8351 9288
  The Department of Health,
  The Environment Protection Agency
  The Australian Heating Associ

Contact us

Council's Environmental Health and Compliance Officer deals with customer enquiries and concerns relating to all of the above topics. If you need to lodge a complaint you can do so by contacting Council on (08) 8666 2014 and the person taking your call will pass on your concerns to the relevant Officer.

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