The Gila County Board of Supervisors received an overview of a proposed environmental health ordinance.
Since 2017, the county has had an agreement with the Arizona Department of Health Services to inspect pools, spas, campgrounds, children’s camps, food establishments, hotels, motels, public schools, investigate public health nuisance complaints and complete smoke-free Arizona investigations.
Each has different rules, regulations, and state laws attached; however, Gila County does not have a document which collectively lists each activity and the regulations it must enforce.
Last year, the Arizona Secretary of State signed new rule changes requiring all 15 counties to adopt the FDA 2017 Food Code. Currently, Gila County is operating under the FDA 2013 Food Code and the difference between the 2013 and 2017 FDA Food Codes is minimal and will have no regulatory impact on the permitted food facilities in Gila County. However, the required adoption of the 2017 FDA Food Code allows the Gila County Health Department an opportunity to revamp its outdated food licensing and fee program to reflect the new food facility risk definitions.
The creation of an Environmental Health Ordinance would provide transparency to the residents of Gila County as to what its delegated responsibilities are and the process that must be legally followed to require residents and/or facility owners to correct violations of the requirements. This ordinance would also provide clarity on the fees associated with each activity.
Michael O’Driscoll, director of county health and emergency service, said creating an ordinance to address the inspections and establishing an appeals process through a hearing officer would streamline the process to the benefit of businesses and the county.
Also included in the proposed ordinance will be streamlined rules and regulations for dealing with wastewater that benefit the public and county.
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