The Food Program is responsible for regulating the operation of approximately 4,900 retail food facilities in Fresno County. Food Program activities include the permitting and inspection of retail food businesses such as restaurants, markets, school cafeterias, bakeries, bars, mobile food vendors, and community event food vendors; the review of construction plans and inspections of new and remodeled food facilities; the investigation of complaints regarding violations of the California Retail Food Code including unsanitary conditions; and the investigation of suspected food borne illnesses.
The type of retail food operation determines the frequency of routine inspections. Routine inspection frequencies vary from one to four times per year and do not account for other inspections that may be conducted in response to a consumer complaint, alleged illness investigation or a re-inspection of a facility due to critical violations documented during a routine inspection.
Public water systems serving 15 or more connections and more than 25 persons are regulated by the California Department of Public Health, Division of Drinking Water. The Fresno office for the Division of Drinking Water can be reached at (559) 447-3300, 265 W Bullard Suite #101, Fresno CA 93704.
Water systems serving between 5 to 14 connections and less than 25 persons are considered state small public water systems and are regulated by the Environmental Health Division.
All water systems must sample for certain water quality contaminants at varying frequencies and submit the results to the regulating agency for review. Whenever potential problems are detected, water program specialists ensure that the system takes corrective action to resolve the problems and notifies the public of any health risks.
Program facilities include 1,300 public swimming pools and spas at apartments, schools, day care facilities, athletic clubs, water parks, hotels, and motels. Routine inspections are performed twice each year, usually during the summer season, and do not account for other inspections that may be conducted in response to a complaint, alleged illness investigation, or a reinspection of a facility due to critical violations documented during a routine inspection.
During inspections the water is tested for chemical balance, including pH, disinfection, and other parameters to maintain sanitary conditions. In addition, the presence of safety equipment and signs is verified; filtration and other equipment related to the water circulation system are examined for proper operation and maintenance; and compliance with the Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) Act to prevent entrapment and suction hazards is confirmed.
The Unified Program was created by Senate Bill 1082 (1993) to consolidate, coordinate, and make consistent the administrative requirements, permits, inspections, and enforcement activities for the following environmental and emergency management programs: Hazardous Materials Release Response Plans and Inventories (Business Plans), California Accidental Release Prevention Program, Underground Storage Tank Program, Aboveground Petroleum Storage Act Requirements for Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plans, Hazardous Waste Generator and Onsite Hazardous Waste Treatment (tiered permitting) Programs, California Uniform Fire Code, Hazardous Material Management Plans and Hazardous Material Inventory Statements.
The Unified Program is intended to provide relief to businesses complying with the overlapping and sometimes conflicting requirements of formerly separate programs. The Unified Program is implemented at the local government level by Certified Unified Program Agencies (CUPA), most of which have been established as a function of a local environmental health or fire department. In Fresno County, the Department of Community Health’s Environmental Health Division was authorized by the Board of Supervisors to implement the program in December 1997.
The Housing Program is responsible for enforcing state housing regulations in the unincorporated areas of Fresno County. The program investigates and resolves complaints regarding unsanitary and unsafe residential buildings and abatement of public nuisance conditions.
The Solid Waste, Liquid Waste, and Waste Tire Programs are responsible for assuring the proper storage and disposal of solid wastes, liquid wastes, and waste tires while minimizing the presence of vectors and odors related to waste handling and disposal at pubic landfill facilities and other waste processing and tire facilities. In addition to routine inspections of waste facilities, the program also responds to complaints relating to the accumulation, storage, collection, processing, and improper disposal of waste in Fresno County.
The program also inspects and permits liquid waste pumping vehicles that pump out septic tanks, grease traps, and car wash traps in Fresno County. The Fresno County Ordinance Code and the California Code of Regulations require operators to obtain a permit to operate in order to ensure the proper disposal of liquid waste and maintenance of their vehicles in a clean and sanitary manner.
Milk and Dairy
The Milk and Dairy Program ensures that milk produced on Fresno County dairies meets standards. This is accomplished by conducting routine inspections and collecting milk samples for laboratory analyses.
The Environmental Health Division’s registered dairy inspectors are responsible for inspecting dairies and associated facilities that store the raw milk prior to processing while the state agency inspects milk plants and processed milk. Additionally, staff may conduct inspections of dairy facilities in response to nuisance complaints received such as flies and/or odors.
The program is also responsible for permitting and inspecting facilities in Fresno County that have soft serve ice cream equipment. Routine laboratory analyses of soft serve samples are conducted to ensure acceptable bacteriological quality.