This program area encompasses risk assessment, protection from potential and actual hazards, prevention of disease and injury, and the promulgation and enforcement of regulations. Priority areas include:
• Food sanitation and restaurant inspections
• Private sewage systems
• Water Wells
• Solid waste
• Air Pollution
• Mosquito borne illness and surveillance
• Rabies Control~and~Animal~Health
• Beaver Activity Endangering Public~Health
• Pool Inspections
• Camp Inspections
• Body Art
The Health Department Staff of the Quabbin Health District focus on inspecting and licensing all food establishments serving the public in Ware, with emphasis on those that present the highest risk to public health. If violations are found, the establishment owner will be ordered by the Ware Board of Health to rectify the violations within the time specified by State Regulations. If violations are so great an immediate threat to public health and safety exists, the Ware Board of Health can order the immediate closure of the establishment.
The Health Department staff continued to address the housing needs and concerns of residents. Tenants may request and arrange a housing code inspection of their rental unit by calling the Quabbin Health District office at (413) 967-9615. If violations are found, the property owner will be ordered by the Belchertown Board of Health to remediate the hazards within the time specified by State Regulations. Landlords needing a Board of Health compliance letter for rental subsidies can arrange an inspection by calling (413) 967-9615. Landlords are charged a fee for these types of subsidy inspections.
Health Department Staff will perform a lead paint determination in any housing unit where a child under the age of 6 resides upon request. If lead paint is found, the property owner will be ordered by the Belchertown Board of Health to have performed a complete lead paint inspection and remedial the hazard within the time specified by State Regulations.
The Belchertown Board of Health is responsible for overseeing and approving all matters related to residential and commercial septic systems governed by the Massachusetts Title 5 Regulations and the Town of Belchertown Sewage Disposal Regulations. Among its many responsibilities, the Health Department Staff review the design, placement, construction, maintenance, and repair of septic systems in Belchertown, acting as the Board's agents in performing inspections and fieldwork.
Under Massachusetts General Law, (MGA Ch. 111 §122) local Boards of Health have primary jurisdiction over the regulation of private wells.
The Board of Health is responsible for regulating the collection, transportation and disposal of garbage, offal and other offensive substances within the community. To that end, the Board has adopted regulations governing the licensing of trash haulers within the community. Solid Waste facilities in Belchertown (transfer stations, Incinerators, and Landfills) are regulated by the Board of Health through site assignments process in accordance with State Regulations.
In conjunction with The MA Department of Environmental Protection the Belchertown Board of Health has the ability to investigate and enforce ambient (outdoor) air quality violations. Additionally, Health Department staff can provide resource infuriation to citizens on inner air quality concerns.
The Belchertown Board of Health is responsible for enforcing the Massachusetts Smoke free workplace Law within Town. As of July 5, 2004, all enclosed workplaces that have one or more employees must be smoke- free. Designated smoking areas or smoking rooms are not permitted. There are very few limited exceptions. In addition the Board has Town-wide regulations aimed at limiting minor’s access to tobacco. Health department staff receives complaints, conduct inspections, initiate enforcement action and process permits for tobacco retailers.
Quit Smoking Help Quit line 1-800-Try to Stop
Mosquito Control and West Nile Virus
The Health Department collaborates with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to monitor the mosquito population and minimize the risk of mosquito borne illnesses such as West Nile Virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV). During the season, weekly reports are received and r avowed on regional mosquito a captivity and diseases detected. Specimens of suspect birds found in Ware are sent for testing to the State laboratory for analysis.
Rabies Control and Animal Health
The Belchertown Board of Health Animal Inspector/Rabies Control Officer coordinate rabies control measures with the State Bureau of Animal Health. Reports of specimens submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Virology Laboratory for rabies testing are received by the Board of Health office and appropriate action taken. By statute, any pet or farm animal that may have had contact with an animal suspected of carrying the rabies virus must be ordered confined by the animal inspector. Annual barn inspections are also performed to ensure the health and sanitary keeping of livestock.
Beaver Activity Endangering Public Health
Residents can apply to the Board of Health for a 10 day permit to trap or install water control devices in situations where specific threats to health are occurring. Upon receipt of an application, Health department staff review and may also conduct a site visit.
The Boards sole responsibility is to act on an application by a Ware resident seeking a permit to breach a dam, install a flow pipe through a dam, or to trap and/or use outlawed traps out of the normal trapping season. In determining whether to issue such a permit to the applicant, the applicant must prove that the conditions caused by the dam meet the emergency criteria outlined in M.G.L. C. 131, § 80A .
The Board does not implement the permit, or hire workers to perform the work, and does not seek permission of the owner of the property on which the dam sits. Initial permits are valid for 10 days, and may be renewed only up to a total of 30 days. During the second two periods, the applicant must contact the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for a permanent plan of action.
Swimming Pools and Beaches
The Health Department monitors the Town’s swimming water quality and ensures compliance with State Sanitary Code, working closely in conjunction with personnel from Parks and Recreation Department.
Recreational Camps for Children
A rigorous inspection process is conducted for any camp operating in Belchertown to ensure the safety of the children enrolled in camp activities.
The Health Department Staff focus on inspecting and licensing all masseuses and massage establishments in Belchertown.
A rigorous inspection process is conducted for any tattoo or piecing establishment and practioneers operating in Belchertown to ensure health and safety.
The Health Department Staff focus on inspecting and licensing all tanning salons open to the public in Belchertown.