The duties of a town health officer, outlined in 18VSA §602a, include:
- Conducting an investigation upon receipt of information regarding a condition that may be a public health hazard.
- Enforcing the provisions of Title 18 and the rules and permits issued by the Vermont Department of Health. (This includes notifying the department upon discover of any violation of rule regulated by the Environmental Health Division).
- Preventing, removing or destroying any public health hazard, or mitigating any significant public health risk in accordance with provisions of Title 18.
- In consultation with the Vermont Department of Health, taking the steps necessary to enforce all orders issued pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title 18.
Town health officers are given authority by the Vermont statutes to investigate and mitigate any potential or existing public health hazard in his/her town. Each town has a local board of health made up of the town’s Selectboard and the town health officer. the town health officer investigates all complaints and has extensive authority to take emergency mitigation steps, and may enforce any state health regulations and local health ordinances in his/her town.
Town health officers may conduct inspections to detect violations of any state or local health statute, rule, ordinance or permit, or any public hazard or public health risk. Inspections must be conducted at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner. The health officer may, upon presentation of credentials, seek permission to inspect any premises not open to the public. If permission is refused the town health officer may seek a search warrant.
When notified, we work with state agencies and/or other town departments investigating potential health hazards as outlined in the Environmental Health Handbook for Town Health Officers. This duties included, but are not limited to, investigating failed septic systems, administering and enforcement of the Rental Housing Code, animal bites, environmental hazards, and any other potential health hazards.
The Rental Housing Code is a general rental sanitation code and applies to any rented property or any property occupied by someone other than the owner where the occupant is occupying the premises in exchange for some return.
For additional information on health related questions/concerns, you may visit the State Health Department’s website at http://healthvermont.gov/
For local questions or concerns you may have contact the Health Officer or Deputy Health Officer.