UCHD, Protecting Your Health.


Tuesday, 08 December 2015 02:20

Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Program


Initial Assessments ~ Assement Phase-in Schedule ~ O&M Permits ~ O&M Inspections
Inspection Options  ~ EPA Grant Information ~ O&M Staff Profiles  ~  FAQ's 


NEW 2015 Sewage Rules!

Ohio Administrative Code: Chapter 3701-29

icon OAC-3701-29 UCHD Sewage Rules Supplement

In January of 2015, Ohio Department of Health (ODH) adopted new private sewage laws (Ohio Administrative Code: Chapter 3701-29). These new laws mandate every private septic system also known as a sewage treatment system (STS) have an operation permit and to be monitored on a regular basis. This will ensure STS are working correctly and not polluting the environment. 

In Union County over 9,000 homes and businesses use STS to treat wastewater. Because of the large number of systems, initial assessments will be completed by township with only approximately 3 townships per year being added onto the O&M program starting in 2016. Below is the current schedule the Environmental Health Division has made for the 2016-2019 implementation of the countywide O&M program. (this schedule is subject to change)



Assessment Phase in Schedule

 2016-17: Claiborne, Leesburg, Taylor

 2017-18: Jackson, Washington, York, Liberty

 2018: Darby, Dover, Jerome, Millcreek

 2019: Allen, Union, Paris

Phase in by townships
*Phase in is by township. Years are subject to change.

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Initial Assessments

The Union County Health Department will be conducting initial assessments to determine the type of private septic system at each home or business. There is no cost for this initial assessment. These assessments will consist of records reviews and/or on-site inspections. If the health deapartment has sufficient records on file your private septic system  may not receive an initial assessment in person.

Initial assessments will be completed by township from 2016 through 2019, with approximately three townships per year being assessed. You can see the current map above although this is subject to change if needed. After your initial assessment has been done and the private septic system type has been determined, your private septic system will be officially added to the Board of Health’s Operation and Maintenance (O&M) program. Claibourne, Leesburg and Taylor Townships are the townships slated for review in 2016. 

While you are not required to be present, our inspectors always welcome questions and are happy to talk with you about your system. Health Department inspectors will typically visit during normal business hours and can be identified by any of the following:

1. Clothing or safety vest with the agency logo;

2. A vehicle marked with the agency’s logo;

3. An agency ID badge;

4. Agency letter/ paperwork identifying their purpose

You are always encouraged to contact our department if there is any concern at (937) 642-2053

To start the visit, the inspector will knock on the door. If no one answers, they will walk the accessible areas of the property to assess all components of the septic system. They will NOT enter any house, building or storage facility; the assessment is all outside.

After completing the assessment, a report and contact information will be available for the property owner. If for some reason you do not receive your report, a copy will be kept on file and can be emailed or mailed if needed. The property owner is encouraged to contact us with any questions.

How to receive a copy of your assessment report

If you live in Claibourne, Leesburg, or Taylor townships you may have already received a notice on your door stating that an assessment has been completed. To receive a copy of this assessment please send an email with your address to EHcontact@uchd.net. Someone from our office will reply with a copy of your assessment report. You should receive a copy of your report with 1-2 business days.

If you did not receive a notice but your neighbors did you may have received a desk audit meaning we have all the information we need to complete your assessment from our office. You can receive a copy of your report by following the instructions above.

If you live in a township other than Claibourne, Leesburg or Taylor you will be assessed during the years stated above. (click here to see a map)  However, if we visit your property for another reason (water sampling, nuisance complaint etc) we may complete your initial assessment at that time. 

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O&M Permits

O&M Permits are REQUIRED under the state sewage laws. Initial O&M permits will be sent to septic system owners in November of 2016 for the prorated 2017-2019 Operation Permit.  At the end of 2016 every septic system owner will be billed for a prorated permit in the amount of $30 ($10 per permit year). You will receive this bill in the mail with more information on when and how you can pay for your permit. 

 After the phase-in process, permits will be renewed in every year ending in a 0 or 5 (i.e. 2020, 2025...) and you will receive that renewal application in the mail the fall before the renewal is required.

For example: In the fall of 2019, every septic system owner will receive a renewal bill for their 2020-2024 permit.  Then in the fall of 2024 they will receive their next renewal bill for the 2025-2029 O&M permit.

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O&M Inspections

Starting in 2020, every septic system needs to be inspected on a regular basis which varies depending on the type of system you own. The table below shows the types of systems by category and how often they will be inspected. 


Table 1. Inspection Requirements.

The following are the inspection cycles for the various types of Sewage Treatment System (STS).

Frequency Group

(in order of risk, highest to lowest)


A. Aerators, discharging systems, NPDES, etc.

Regular Aerators

NPDES Aerators

Drip Distribution Systems

Aerator to Leach

Aerator to Mound

Aerator to SSSF

Aerator to Peat/Sphagnum Moss Filter

Aerator to any other STS

Unknown STS (until confirmed as something specific)

Annual Inspection

(5x per 5 years of the permit and no more than one accepted annually)

B1. Septic Tank (ST) to filter beds, lift stations, etc.

ST to SSSF (Discharging)

ST to Mound

ST to SB2

ST to Peat/Sphagnum Moss Filter (Discharging)

ST to Lift Station to Mound

ST to Filter Bed (Discharging)

ST to Lift Station to Leach

Lift Station to any other STS

B2. Septic Tank (ST) to holding tanks, filter beds, etc.

Holding Tanks

ST to Filter Bed (Non Discharging)

STS with sump pumps in the perimeter drain

Two Inspections per Permit Cycle

(2x per 5 years of the permit but no more than one accepted annually)

C. Septic Tank to leach field

One inspection per Permit Cycle

(1x per 5 years)


Inspection Options

After your initial assessment, you can choose from the three options below for who will complete ongoing inspectons for your system.

  1. Registered Service Provider
  2. Union County Health Department
  3. Registered Property Owner 

1. Registered Service Providers

Union County Health Department (UCHD) has a list of service providers that are registered to perform inspections on septic systems. Each service provider charges a fee for the assessment which varies depending on the service provider. The service provider will submit the inspection paperwork to UCHD (both the homeowner and service provider have an equal responsibility to submit all necessary paperwork to UCHD). Please note all inspection documentation must be submitted within one month to UCHD and any work performed on the STS must be reported to UCHD within 3 months.

The advantage to having a registered service provider assess your septic system is most service providers are able to perform maintenance on your system whereas UCHD will not. A full list of registered service providers can be found here: Registered Service Providers. Some registered service providers only perform inspections and will not be able to fix your system if they find something wrong.  If you think you might need service done to your system, be sure to ask if the registered service provider if they will be able to perform service or if they just assess the system.

icon Registered Service Providers

2. Union County Health Department

Your second option for your O&M inspection would be the Union County Health Department. If there is a problem after inspecting your septic system, UCHD will suggest measures to take to make sure it is working correctly. If you choose to have UCHD perform your inspection, the current fee can be found in the Envionmental Fee Schedule under catergory IV (Sewage Treatment Systems) Section D (Operation and Maintenance Assessments) Line 1 (HSTS Inspection).

**UCHD will NOT perform any repairs to your septic system.

3. Registered Property Owner (primary residence only)

A third option: STARTING IN 2020, you can perform inspections on the Sewage Treatment System (STS) of your primary residence if you own the property. There is a process you must go through in order to become a registered service provider with the Union County Health Department.

1) First, You'll need to take and pass a service provider test.
The test is offered for free online. After passing the test you must submit a certificate of completion to UCHD.

2) Along with your test certificate you must submit your application for registration to UCHD.
Registration fees and bonding requirements have been waived for individuals only performing service on their primary residence. UCHD will processes your application.

3) In order to process your application you must receive education on your septic system type. Set up an appointment with one of our sanitarians to receive education regarding proper maintenance to your system. 

Finally you will receive notification that your application has been approved and you are a registered service provider. You may now perform service and inspections on your STS. Homeowner registration is required every year in which you will be inspecting your system.  After inspecting your system, submit assessment details via your assessment report to UCHD. Any work performed on the STS must be reported to UCHD within 3 months. You can follow this link to learn more about the testing process.

icon Service Provider Application

Regardless of your service provider, please contact UCHD before any system changes are made (not including equipment repairs). 

Jim Cogar, RS
Phone: (937) 645-2041
Email: jim.cogar@uchd.net
Holly J. Rast, RS
Phone: (937) 645-2043
Email: holly.rast@uchd.net

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Click here for a brochure of information 
regarding the O&M Program


icon O&M Brochure 



EPA Grant Information

This grant will be awarded to households at 50%, 85%, and 100% of the total cost of replacing your septic system. The amount you qualify for is based on household income level. Click here to learn about the income levels eligble for grant money.  If you know you have a problem with your system but do not have the funds to fix it, contact Holly Rast or Allison Zandarski for information on how to apply for this grant money! 

Holly Rast                                                   Allison Zandarski
(937) 645-2043                                          (937) 645-2028
holly.rast@uchd.net                                   allison.zandarski@uchd.net

 icon EPA Grant

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Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Is my system grandfathered in, making me exempt from the O&M program?

No. Every septic system in Union County will be in the O&M program by 2020. The O&M program will allow UCHD to pinpoint environmental hazards and stop them from polluting our environment.  For this reason, along with the 2015 state-wide sewage rules mandating the O&M program, no system is exempt.

2. If my system is found to be broken during my assessment, will I have to replace my entire septic system?

Not necessarily.  UCHD is prepared to work with you to salvage every system that needs repairs to work properly.  Expensive repairs and replacements are last resorts and will be avoided at all cost. However, we are looking to prevent and eliminate environmental pollution. Septic systems that are failing and pose immediate harm to human health and the environment, will need to be addressed quickly.

3. When do I need to pay for my 2017-2019 O&M permit and how do I pay for it?

You will receive a bill in the mail in the fall of 2016 for your 2017-2019 permit. The bill will detail when your fee is due. You can pay by mail with a check or in our offices with a check, credit card, or cash.

4. How often will I be inspected?

How often you are inspected depends on the type of system you have. Click here to see the table of system types and how often each needs to be inspected during the 5 year permit.

5. Can I do my own O&M inspections?

Yes. However, you can only perform inspections on your primary residence and you must own the property. Renters may not perform inspections. You can learn more information about conducting your own inspections here.

6. If I buy a home will I have to purchase a new operation permit or will the current permit transfer?

The operation permit is connected to your septic system and stays with the septic system if you choose to move. If you buy a home that has an operation permit, you will not have to buy a new permit but will need to renew it every 5 years. Operation permits are renewed in years ending in 0 or 5, i.e. 2020, 2025.

7. What should I expect if I have an aerator that is on the current O&M Program?

 You will be permited at the end of 2016 like all the other systems in Union County. This permit will cost $30. Beginning in 2017 you will be immediately transferred to the new O&M program and will continue to be inspected every year. If you choose to have UCHD inspect your system, the cost can be found here. You can learn more about other inspection options here

8. How to receive a copy of my initial assessment report?

Send an email with the address of the property you are requesting the report of to EHcontact@uchd.net. Someone from our office will reply with a copy of your assessment report. You should receive a copy of your report within 1-2 business days. 

9. How do I prepare for my initial assessment?

Your assessment will tell you the type of system you have and if you need to perform maintenance on the system. However, having some things done before hand can help your inspector determine system type and ensure that the system is working correctly.
-If you haven't in the last 5 years, you should have your septic tank pumped. Click here for a list of our registered sewage haulers.
-While not required, installing risers and lids on your system will allow your inspector to get a better look at your system and verify its physical and working condition (click here for a list of installers). If your system type or location cannot be identified during your assessment you will be placed in the most frequently inspected system type category and be inspected every year. (click here to see table) If you believe you have been placed in a different category than you should be please contact our office with your address and corrected system type at EHcontact@uchd.net
-Lastly, it is helpful to verify all the plumbing that goes to your septic system. Washing machines, toilets, and sink drains are all examples of what should be draining to your septic system. Sump pumps and water softeners are things that should NOT drain to your septic tank.  

icon Registered Sewage Installers 

icon Registered Sewage Haulers

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Meet Our Sanitarians and Environmental Health Staff!

These are some of our staff that may be visiting your home for O&M assessments and inspections. Click on their pictures to learn more about them!

Paul Ithenya

Holly Rast

Adam Schultz


Jim Cogar

Zach Colles

Allison Zandarski

Melissa Henry

Vic Olsewski


Marcia Dreiseidel


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Published in Water & Sewage
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 16:03

Food Safety

Food Safety is Important

 1 in 6  people gets food poisoning. CDC Vital Signs™:  www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns

Union County Health Department (UCHD) takes food safety seriously. The CDC estimates that each year, 1 in 6 Americans gets sick by eating or drinking contaminated foods or drinks. That adds up to 48 million people resulting in roughly 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths from food poisoning, also called foodborne illnesses every year! The majority of foodborne illnesses are preventable and harmful effects range from flu-like symptoms to hospitalization or even death.

Click here for Food Safety for Operators

Here at Union County Health Department we work hard to prevent and respond to food safety issues. 

Because no one wants foodborne bacteria as a dinner guest!


Protect those you love by following safe food practices at home:


FoodSafe Box


Foodsafety.gov logo for "Clean"CLEAN: Wash hands and surfaces often.

Illness-causing bacteria can survive in many places around your kitchen, including your hands, utensils, and cutting boards.

  • Wash hands the right way—for 20 seconds with soap and running water. Be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  • Wash surfaces and utensils after each use. Rinsing utensils, countertops, and cutting boards with water won’t do enough to stop bacteria from spreading. Clean utensils and small cutting boards with hot, soapy water. Clean surfaces and cutting boards with a bleach solution.
  • Wash fruits and veggies—but not meat, poultry, or eggs. Even if you plan to peel fruits and veggies, it’s important to wash them first because bacteria can spread from the outside to the inside as you cut or peel them.



Foodsafety.gov logo for "Separate"SEPARATE: Don't cross-contaminate.

Even after you’ve cleaned your hands and surfaces thoroughly, raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs can still spread illness-causing bacteria to ready-to-eat foods—unless you keep them separate.



Foodsafety.gov logo for "Cook"COOK: Cook to the right temperature.

While many people think they can tell when food is “done” simply by checking its color and texture, there’s no way to be sure it’s safe without following a few important but simple steps.

  • Use a food thermometer. Make sure food reaches its safe minimum cooking temperature. For example, internal temperatures should be 145°F for whole meats (allowing the meat to rest for 3 minutes before carving or eating), 160°F for ground meats, and 165°F for all poultry. Eggs should be cooked until the yolk is firm.
  • During meal times, while food is being served and eaten, keep it hot (at 140 ˚F or above). After meals are over, refrigerate leftover food quickly.
  • Microwave food thoroughly (to 165 ˚F). 


Foodsafety.gov logo for "Chill"CHILL: Refrigerate promptly.

Illness-causing bacteria can grow in many foods within two hours unless you refrigerate them. (During the summer heat, cut that time down to one hour.)



woman reporting foodborne illness on phoneREPORT: If you believe you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food, please contact your local health department.

Health departments are an important part of the food safety system which rely on calls from concerned citizens. You can be an important part of discovering what foods made you and others sick.

  • If a public health official contacts you to find out more about an illness you had, your cooperation is important. Be willing to be interviewed about the foods you ate before you got sick; share your store receipts and give permission for stores to share the list of food you purchased from their store; and allow investigators to come to your home to collect any leftover food you may have.
  • In public health investigations, it can be as important to talk to healthy people as to ill people. Even if you are not ill, be willing to be interviewed about the foods you ate during a certain period of time.
  • REMEMBER: It's not usually the last meal you ate that made you sick. Foodborne pathogens usually require incubation times of 12-72 hours. 

For more information on preventing foodborne illnesses, please visit FoodSafety.gov, the federal gateway for food safety information.

Content provided by the CDC and FoodSafety.gov



*This September, UCHD is joining forces with forces with the National Restaurant Association, the Ad Council and the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, in partnership with the FDA and CDC to increase awareness of food safety in both food service establishments and homes in Union County.

 Look out for promotional ads throughout the community targeting consumers and food operators to be mindful of safe food handling practices and procedures. Continue to check our website as we keep you updated on ways to reduce your family's risk of foodborne illness.



Who's at Risk for Foodborne Illness- Know who in your family has the greatest danger of foodborne illness and take extra precautions. 

Produce- An apple a day keeps the doctor away..." be mindful of safe food practices when you enjoy your favorite fruit or vegetable. 

Home Canning- Up to date procedures  to ensure a high-quality, safe product that you and your family can enjoy.





Published in Home
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 20:08

Keeping You Safe when Eating Out

Ever wondered who works to keep you safe?...
         Take a look to find out who works hard to keep you healthy and happy. 


Union County Health Department (UCHD)

UCHD's mission is to protect the health, safety and well-being of all Union County by providing quality public health services. The Environmental Health division of UCHD works in collaboration with food service operators to ensure safe food service practices and procedures are observed.

UCHD keeps you safe by:

  • Inspecting all restaurants, school cafeterias, and grocery stores two times a year
  • Inspecting all mobile food units and temporary food units in Union County
  • Promptly responding to valid complaints from the public
  • Posting recent inspection reports on our website for public viewing

For a healthier and happier community UCHD works to:

  • Promote good personal hygiene of food operators
  • Prevent cross-contamination
  • Control time and temperature of foods
  • Regulate proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures



How do I report a foodborne illness?


If you believe you or someone you know became ill from eating a certain food, please contact your county or city health department and tell them you would like to report a foodborne illness. Reporting illnesses to your local health department helps them identify potential foodborne disease outbreaks. By investigating foodborne disease outbreaks, public health officials learn about possible problems in food production, distribution and preparation that may cause illness.



Other Agencies Keeping You Safe...


U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (www.fsis.usda.gov) is the public health regulatory agency in USDA responsible for ensuring that meat, poultry, and processed egg products are safe, wholesome, and accurately labeled.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency also is responsible for the safety and security of our nation's food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC works 24/7 to save lives, protect people from health threats, and save money resulting in a more secure nation. CDC puts science and prevention into action to make the healthy choice the easy choice. CDC helps people live longer and healthier to lead productive lives.

Published in Health
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 18:58

Restaurant Inspection Reports

The Ohio Department of Health created a statewide database for restaurant inspection reports starting in 2014.

Click here to access the restaurant inspection database for Union County.

The inspection website offers an opportunity to share information which may assist you in being a well-informed consumer.
An inspection report may not be representative of the overall, long-term conditions within a facility. It is important to understand that inspection information provided here shows only the conditions of the facility at the time of the inspection. A single inspection report should not be used to evaluate the overall operation of an establishment. Looking at a facility's inspection results over a period of time gives a more accurate picture of that facility's commitment to compliance. It is also important to note that a violation at a facility which is part of a restaurant/grocery chain indicates a problem only at that particular location.

If you you would like to view an inspection report for a local restaurant and cannot find it in the database, please contact the Union County Health Department at (937) 642-2053. 

Each licensing year, the Union County Health Department inspects each restaurant at least twice. An inspection is also performed if valid complaints are received. To voice a complaint, contact the Union County Health Department at (937) 642-2053.

A person who wishes to serve or sell food for a charge or required donation to the public is required by law to first obtain a license from their local health department. These licenses are issued following a facility review to ensure the design of the facility is in compliance with Ohio's Food Safety Regulations.  If you need to obtain a license or are considering opening a food service operation, please visit this page for more information.

For a list of the latest food recalls, click here: Ohio Department of Health searchable database or Ohio Department of Agriculture searchable database.  


Inspection Frequency:
Facility inspections are conducted two times per year. Inspection reports will become available throughout the year, as inspections are conducted.
Violations (Two types of violations may be cited):
Critical Violations: Violations of the Food Regulations, which, if left uncorrected, are more likely than other violations to directly contribute to food contamination or illness. Examples include improper temperature control of food, and the improper cooking, cooling, refrigeration or reheating of food. Such problems can create environments that cause pathogens (bacteria/viruses) to grow and thrive, which put consumers at risk for food-borne illness.
Non-Critical Violations: Violations not directly related to the cause of foodborne illness, however if uncorrected, could affect the operation of the facility and lead to critical violations. Examples include a lack of facility cleanliness and maintenance, or improper cleaning of nonfood-contact equipment.

Standard: This inspection is unannounced to the facility. A local health department sanitarian will conduct a complete inspection covering all items in the regulations for compliance.
Pre-license Inspection: This inspection is conducted prior to issuing a license to a new operation. The purpose of this inspection is to provide consultation and education to the operator.
Critical Control Point (CCP): A sanitarian will spend time reviewing a facility's food processes that may directly contribute to food contamination or illness and educates the facility on proper procedures.
Process Review (PR): This type of inspection is similar to a CCP inspection; however the inspections are conducted in facilities such as grocery stores or convenience stores. The inspection will focus on a specific process that may directly contribute to food contamination or illness.
Follow-up Inspection: This is an inspection for the specific purpose of re-inspecting items that were not in compliance at the time of the standard, CCP and/or PR inspection. These inspections are scheduled.
Complaint: This is an unannounced inspection conducted as a result of a complaint received by the health department. The specifics of the complaint will be evaluated and discussed with the person in charge of the facility.


Food Safety Honor Roll

Union County Health Department started a program called the Food Safety Honor Roll*. Each September during Food Safety Month, UCHD will publish a list of  food establishments who exhibit dedication and commitment to safe food handling and train their staff in food safety. The list is self-nominated and will be published on our website throughout the year as well as released to the local media. 

The Current Honor Roll Members are:

Boston's The Gourmet Pizza
Gables at Green Pastures
Northwood Elementary
Subway Restuarant - 5th Street
Subway Restaurant - US 36

To learn more about the Food Safety Honor Roll, visit this page.

*Note: The Food Safety Honor Roll is a self-nominated list that is then reviewed by UCHD. Establishments on the list may not necessarily be the safest food service establishment but are ones that have voluntarily chosen to show a dedication to food safety. Establishments missing from the list may still be dedicated to following food safety practices and procedures just have not provided UCHD with that information through the Food Safety Honor Roll Program. This program is used as an encouragement for businesses already following strict food safety practices and training schedules by rewarding them by publicly sharing their noteworthy food safety dedication status. The program is also used as an incenitive for other establishments to increase food safety training and practices in their businesses. 


ServSafe Scholarship Program

The Union County Health Department (UCHD) Food Safety Program is pleased to announce the creation of a scholarship program that will allow qualified individuals to attend the nationally recognized ServSafe Course free of charge. This is one of the ways that our Department is giving back to the community. Qualified individuals will be selected from a pool of candidates that score a perfect 100% on the Food Safety Basics quiz administered quarterly (First Wednesday of March, June, September and December) by our organization.  In addition, qualified candidates will be required to submit an essay on the importance of food safety. The scholarship has a $150.00 cash value that can only be applied toward the ServSafe Course administered by UCHD Food.  For more information click here.



Published in Restaurants