Environmental Health FAQs

Landlord/Tenant Disputes

Montana Legal Services AssocLandlord/Tenant Repairs

Outdoor Air

What are the requirements for a burn permit?
For information on burn permits, contact the Sheriff’s Department at 454-6820, ext. 650

How can I find out about air quality alerts during fire season? 

Indoor Air

How can I get my home inspected for mold?
Our department does not have the ability to inspect homes for mold.  We recommend contacting a mold inspection and removal company in the local yellow pages.

How can I get my home tested for radon and what do the results mean?
We have radon test kits available here at the health department for $20.  Results are mailed following the sampling period with explanations provided.

What are the regulations about second hand smoke in public establishments?
In October 2005, state of Montana enacted a law prohibiting smoking in all public establishments with exemptions for bars, casinos, hotels, motels and restaurants.  These establishments have until October 1, 2009 to comply to the new law.  For more information, visit http://leg.mt.gov/bills/mca_toc/50_40.htm


Daycare Centers

I would like to start a daycare in my home.  Who do I contact?
Contact Penny Simkins with the Quality Assurance Division in Helena for licensing requirements.  Her phone number is 406-444-3074.  If the daycare will have more than 12 children, CCHD will also be involved in the plan review process.


Food Establishments and Food Safety

What should I do if I think I got sick from a restaurant I ate at?
People often assume that the last meal they ate is what caused a food related illness.  This is rarely the case.  Typically, food borne illness symptoms begin 24-48 hours after eating contaminated food, but depending on the microorganism or toxin, it can be a few minutes after eating or even up to 6 weeks later.  If you think you may have become ill from a restaurant, please contact us.  We will ask you a few questions about the symptoms, and try to get a food history from you to help us determine what may have caused the illness.

How often are restaurants inspected by the Health Department?
We are required to inspect licensed establishments at least once a year.  We try to inspect higher risk establishments twice a year.  Higher risk facilities are generally food services with large, complex menus preparing large volumes of foods involving many processes.

What if I see a food service doing something I do not think is sanitary?
We always encourage customers to ask to speak to the manager right away and politely point out what you observed.  Most managers want to know these things so they can make the correction and keep your business!  You can also contact our office if you do not believe your concern was handled appropriately.

What is required for me to sell food at the Farmers Market or at fairs and festivals?
There are different requirements depending on the type of temporary food service you are inquiring about.  If you are providing food to the public, whether you charge or not, a license or temporary license is required.  Contact one of our Sanitarians to assist you in determining what can be sold under state regulations and how to do so as safely as possible.



I am interested in subdividing land.  Where do I start?
This process always starts at the County Planning Department.  Their phone number is 454-6905.  We also meet weekly with the county planners to determine which divisions of land are required by law to go through the subdivision review process, either through the Planning Dept. or Department of Environmental Quality, or both.


Septic Systems

How do I find information and a map of my septic system?
Our permitting process for septic systems began in the late 1960’s.  If your septic system was installed after that, we may have it in our records, but it can sometimes be difficult to find if addresses have changed. To help us locate it, we have a Septic Information Request Form to fill out that makes our search much quicker and easier.

My septic tank and/or drain field are failing.  What am I supposed to do?
We recommend calling a certified septic installer as soon as possible.  They are familiar with the local regulations and can usually begin the repairs quickly.  If a new tank or drain field is needed, a septic permit will be required.  Contact our office before the work is started.

Can I put a septic system in myself?
Yes.  However, there is a higher permit fee to offset additional Sanitarian time and site visits that are often required when inexperienced individuals do their own installations.


Solid Waste

Where do I pick up dump tickets?
These are no longer issued through our office.  They can be picked up at the Commissioner’s office in the County Annex at 325 2nd Ave. N.  Their phone # is 454-6810.

My neighbors have a lot of junk vehicles on their property.  Who can do something about it?
The junk vehicle and community decay program is now run by the Planning Dept. Call 454-6905.