Tag Archives: Health department

Health Department Blog Worth Reading

The Chatham County Public Health Department blog has been added to a list of 100 County Public Health Blogs Well Worth Reading. Check out the link at http://www.mastersinpublichealth.net/100-county-public-health-blogs-well-worth-reading/.

The Chatham County Public Health Department blog is listed as number one on the East Coast. Go Chatham County!

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Health Department Conducts Community Health Assessment

The Chatham County Public Health Department is currently working on the 2010 Community Health Assessment

The Community Health Assessment is completed every four years by the health department to find out what are the top health priorities in Chatham County. The health assessment also identifies what factors affect the health of a population and what resources are available within the community to address these factors. The last Community Health Assessment was completed  in 2006. 

The Community Health Assessment Steering Team began the 15-month process in September 2009. The team is made of representatives from the health department, agencies, non-profits, health agencies can we say health and human service agencies and use agency only once, local government, school system, and Chatham community members. 

The team put together the interview and focus groups guides and the Community Opinion Survey. Should this say that the team is interviewing  key informants in the community and conducting focus groups and then talk about the survey.   Members of the steering team took part in a training to conduct interviews and focus groups with Chatham County residents. 

After all the data from Chatham residents and health statistics is collected, the steering team will pull out the top health priorities for the county. The health priorities will be listed in a comprehensive report due out on December 6th

If you would like to help the health department collect data from Chatham residents, please take the Community Opinion Survey at www.surveymonkey.com/s/2010CHAsurvey. The survey will be open until July 1st.

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Should I Have My Water Tested? Part II: What Tests Should I Request?

As yesterday’s post informed us, routine water testing for a few of the most common contaminants is recommended if your water supply comes from a private well, even if your water appears clear and tastes good.  Below you will find information about a few different water tests that you might want to consider.

Bacteria*:  This test provides a general assessment of the bacterial safety of your water. It is recommended that your well be tested for bacteria every year.  The water will be analyzed for total and fecal coliform.  The coliform group of bacteria is the indicator most widely used by public health officials to determine the safety of the water.  Fecal coliform bacteria are a serious health concern.  If present, the water should not be used for drinking or cooking.  Total coliform in the water indicate that other potential disease causing organisms may be present and are, therefore a health concern.  A bacterial test should be done if:

  • Your well is newly drilled.
  • Your well has been repaired or the pump replaced.
  • Any household member suffers from recurring bouts of gastrointestinal illness.
  • An infant lives in the home.
  • A person with a chronic illness that compromises the immune system lives in the home.
  • Your well water has never been tested.
  • You wish to monitor the performance of home water treatment devices.

Inorganic:  The parameters tested for include:  alkalinity, arsenic, calcium, chloride, copper, fluoride, iron, hardness, magnesium, manganese, lead, pH, and zinc.  These parameters can impact health or affect the quality or taste of the water.  The results of the tests are reviewed by the state toxicologist.  This test should be done if:

  • Your well is newly drilled.
  • Your water has an objectionable taste.
  • Your water is cloudy or discolored.
  • Your plumbing fixtures or pipes have a scaly residue or corrosion.
  • You notice stained plumbing fixtures or laundry.

Nitrates/Nitrites:  Nitrates or Nitrites in the water can be very dangerous.   Excessive levels can cause methemoglobinemia, or “blue baby syndrome”.  Boiling the water can increase the concentration of the nitrates or nitrites.  Sources of nitrate are fertilizer, animal waste and sewage.  This test should be done if:

  • A household member is pregnant.
  • An infant lives in or spends time in the household.
  • A household member suffers from severe heart or lung disease.
  • Your well is located near a farm field, animal barn (including chicken house) or feed lot.
  • Your well is located within 100 feet of a septic system, particularly an old system or one that has failed.

Sulfur Bacteria:  This test is recommended if:

  • Your water has a “rotten egg” or sulfur odor.  If this odor is present, the test is actually unnecessary because the odor indicates that treatment (super chlorination) is needed.
  • Your water has a bitter taste.
  • Your plumbing has pipe corrosion problems and yellow or black stains on fixtures.

Iron Bacteria:  This test is recommended if:

  • You notice a slimy build-up in the toilet tank.
  • Your water has a reddish-brown tinge or an oil-like sheen on the surface.
  • Your water has a musty, oily or “cucumber” odor.

Pesticide**:  You should request this test if:

  • Your well is near areas of intensive agriculture.
  • Your well is located within 50 feet of a termite-treated building foundation.

Petroleum**:  Petroleum products contain volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds.   You should request this test if:

  • Your well is located near an underground storage tank (UST). 
  • Your well is located near a business that has an UST or is industrial in nature.
  • Your well is located near a landfill.

*A bacteria test is recommended in addition to any other water testing you request if you have not had one done within the previous 12 months.

**These tests require prior authorization from the Environmental Health Division at 542-8208.

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Should I Have My Water Tested?

If your water supply comes from a private well, you are responsible for assuring that it is safe.  Routine testing for a few of the most common contaminants is recommended, even if your water appears clear and tastes good.  Regular testing is valuable because it establishes a record of your well’s water quality. 

The Chatham County Public Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health offers water sampling services.  Upon receiving an application and the applicable fee, a representative of the Division will make an appointment to collect your water sample(s).  These samples are sent to the North Carolina Public Health Laboratory for analysis.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog for information about a few specific water tests you might be interested in requesting.

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April is Public Health Month!

Here’s to your health!

Everyone is talking about healthcare reform and making sure everyone has access to healthcare. The Chatham County Public Health Department has been helping people with their healthcare needs for many years. Although the health department does bill many insurance companies, we also provide care to people to don’t have any insurance.

All adults and children from Chatham County can receive medical services through the health department. Women can also receive Family Planning services (exam and birth control methods). All charges are based on income.

Call to ask about the Chatham County Public Health Department’s other services or to make an appointment. The Pittsboro number is 919-542-8220 and Siler City is 919-742-5641. We’re here to serve you!

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