Editor’s note — Because they typically receive a lot of public nuisance reports in the spring and early summer, Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner has released the following information. “We especially want to be sure that everyone knows about our new online form for reporting nuisance properties,” Warner said.
Every week, the Highland County Health Department gets calls and questions from our community about trash, sewage and other nuisance properties. Below is a review of our nuisance program, from understanding what a nuisance is, reporting the problem, and what happens after a nuisance is reported to the health department.
What is a
The Highland County Health Department (HCHD) has jurisdiction over many types of nuisances, including solid waste/trash, rodents, insects (including mosquito breeding), sewage systems malfunctions, and private water system issues. A public health nuisance means “any condition which is injurious [able to cause injury] or potentially injurious to the health and safety of the public, or which pollutes the air, land or water.” Nuisance conditions which the HCHD has jurisdiction over are: solid waste/trash, rodents, insects (including mosquito breeding), sewage systems malfunctions, and private water system issues. These issues can be found on properties that have unsanitary or unhealthy conditions such as trash dumps, open burning, failing sewage systems or dumping of sewage, off-rim tires/vessels that hold stagnant water and could lead to mosquito breeding. Our regulations do not give us authority over indoor housing conditions. We are unable to investigate complaints regarding: bed bugs, animal hoarding, mold or condemning a home or abandoned building. “Eyesore” properties which have tall grass/abandoned vehicles are not considered a public health nuisance.
In 2021, the environmental health inspectors investigated 88 valid public health nuisance complaints in Highland County. Of those complaints 62 have been corrected.
How to report
There are several ways to report a nuisance. On our website (www.highlandcountyhealth.org) under Public Health Nuisances, you can find the online fillable Nuisance Complaint Form, or as a printable form that can be provided to our office. If you do not want your name attached to the complaint, you can reach out to your township trustee and ask them to report it. You can also come into our office and fill out a form, or mail a signed letter to us at: Highland County Health Department, 1487 N. High St., Suite 400, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
after a complaint
Once a nuisance complaint is reported to the health department, this new nuisance complaint is assigned to one of our environmental health specialists (EHS) to be reviewed. The EHS will visit the property to determine if the complaint is valid and is within HCHD’s jurisdiction. For complaints within HCHD’s jurisdiction, the property owner is sent a Notice of Violation (NOV) explaining what codes are being violated and what steps they need to take to remove the nuisance. The NOV letter outlines a set amount of time to correct the nuisance (generally 15-90 days). If the nuisance is removed, the file is closed. If the nuisance is not corrected, the case is sent to the Highland County Board of Health for review and further action at their monthly meeting. The HCHD board members will decide if the case will be dismissed, given an extension, or forwarded to the prosecutor. If the case is forwarded to the prosecutor, further enforcement actions will be taken by their office.
For more information, contact the Highland County Health Department Environmental Health Division at 937-393-1941 or [email protected]