Environmental Investigations & Complaints
The purpose of the complaint program is to provide a means for the public to notify the health department of concerns regarding public health in Hamilton County. The concerns must pertain to issues in which the local health department has regulatory authority as prescribed through state law and county ordinance. The goal is to gain information from the public to assist in safeguarding public health through the various programs provided through the health department. Investigations are completed through complaint inspections, correspondence, documentation, education to all parties involved, and potential legal actions.
- Food safety (retail food service facilities, schools, manufactured food contamination)
- Sewage discharge
- Public and Semi-public swimming pools
- Housing sanitation
- Mold and indoor air concerns
- Rodent and insect infestations (of public health significance)
Other complaints should be directed to the appropriate regulatory authority.
- Weeds and Tall Grass - Contact Township Trustee office
- Abandoned Structure - Contact the Local Planning Department
- Abandoned Vehicle - Contact the local Law enforcement agency
Currently, there are statutory regulations or standards that require mold to be cleaned up or address how much mold you can be exposed to. The Hamilton County Health Department provides education but cannot take enforcement actions or engage in any landlord/tenant disputes regarding mold.
What is Mold?
Molds are fungi that are found almost everywhere. More than likely you are breathing mold spores right now! Molds grow throughout the environment, inside and out, in soils, on food, on plants, and even on building materials when moisture is
present. Molds occur naturally in the environment and formed by decomposition of organic matter. (Cheese and penicillin are both products of mold.) There are various colors of mold including white, green, black, and orange. They reproduce by releasing microscopic spores that spread easily in the air and can enter a home or building through windows, doors, cracks, and vents.
How do I know if I have a MOLD problem?
Use your eyes and your nose to determine if your home or workplace has a mold problem. If you see mold and there is a musty smell it is probably safe to assume you may have a mold problem. Also look for signs of moisture problems such as water leaks in pipes and the roof, standing water, and water stains on the floors, walls, and other building materials.
BE ON THE ALERT FOR FURTHER MOLD GROWTH AND PREVENT IT FROM GROWING!!!
- Keep humidity levels below 40%!
- Exhaust cooking areas, clothes dryers, and bathrooms to the outdoors. Make sure they do not vent to the attic or inside.
- Have your heating and cooling system checked regularly and change filters monthly.
- Immediately address any leaking pipes, flooded basements, roof leaks, ice dams, and other sources of water within the home or workplace.
- In hot and humid weather use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to lower the humidity within the indoor air.
If you are allergic to mold or suffer from asthma you should not attempt to clean up the mold and leave the home or workplace while the clean up occurs.
If the mold is growing over greater than 10 square feet of a surface area within your home or workplace, you may need to hire a professional to clean it up.
For more information on mold and mold clean up you may refer to the
A Guide to Mold, Moisture, and your Home Source USEPA
Food Safety Complaints
The Health Department investigates reports of food safety compliance issues such as foods served out of temperature, hand washing, rodents or insects on the premises.
Food borne Illness Reporting
Food borne illness complaints are assigned to an inspector for follow-up. If a possible illness is suspected related to food an additional 72 hour food history questionnaire including onset and duration of symptoms and time food eaten will need to be obtain from the complainant. Health Department Environmental or Nursing staff will complete documentation by means of a phone interviews.
If multiple individuals are involved then a more extensive investigative process will occur requiring sample submissions to the laboratory. In order to establish a correlation between a suspected food illness and a food facility, the health department will require a stool sample and food sample submissions be made.
Housing - Unsanitary Conditions
Hamilton County does not have a specific Housing Ordinance.
A Minimum Housing Standard policy has been adopted by the Hamilton County Health Board when encountering conditions that may transmit, generate, or promote disease. Abatement orders may be issued on environmental housing conditions utilizing the Housing Standard pursuant to Health Department authorities granted under Indiana Code.
Other agencies with Housing and sanitary living condition authorities
- Local Building Planning Department
- Child Welfare
- Adult Protective Services
- Senior Services
Trash or Garbage
An accumulation of trash that is not removed on a regular basis which may institute, permit, or promote disease will be investigated for the issuance of abatement orders.
Weed complaints are referred to the respective Township Trustees who have legal authority to abate nuisance weeds.
- See Current Elected Officials PDF for appropriate Township Trustee name and phone number.
- If a Homeowner's Association exist, contact should also be done
The Health Department does not take action against abandoned automobiles or autos on private property that belong to the property owner.
In Noblesville, the Noblesville Building Department will address issues. Check with your local jurisdiction. Otherwise, contact the local enforcement agency or the county sheriffs department to report abandoned vehicles.
Salvage Yard operations are regulated by IDEM office of Land Quality, 317-232-8603
Hamilton County Sheriff Department acts on complaints junk and abandoned vehicles
Sewage mean all water carried wastes derived from ordinary living processes. The Health department regulates both residential and commercial sewage disposal systems. No system is grandfathered in the State of Indiana or Hamilton County and a failed system is a health hazard which must be abated.
Failure conditions as defined:
- The system refuses to accept sewage at the rate of design application thereby interfering with the normal use of plumbing fixtures.
- Effluent discharge exceeds the absorptive capacity of the soil resulting in ponding, seepage, or other discharge of the effluent to the ground surfaces or to surface waters.
- Effluent is discharged from the system causing contamination of a potable water supply, ground water, or surface waters.
Rodent & Insect Programs
This program is divided in the health department between vectors typically found in sanitary housing investigations and the control of known populations of disease carrying waterborne insects or Mosquito Control
Housing Related Vectors
Can be reported as General Environmental health complaint. Some nuisance insects which do not transmit disease will be referred to contacting a private contractor to apply control techniques such as Bed Bugs.
Some common public health vectors encountered
- Rats & Mice
Waterborne Insects- Mosquito Control
The best protection from mosquitoes is for people is source reduction and self protection by wearing proper clothing, proper use of repellent spays, and avoiding active areas. The Health Department Mosquito Control program has a significant amount of information available for review including West Nile Virus sampling sites..
Reporting an Environmental Complaint
Health complaint may be submitted through the applicable online services page:
Be prepared to submit
- Name and Contact number
- Location of Complaint
- Nature of complaint