Environmental Health

The Environmental Health Division is dedicated to making the Roanoke City & Alleghany Health Districts the healthiest districts in the state by protecting citizens from preventable risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work.  Emphasis is placed on education and public awareness of health concerns, as well as regulatory authority. The main Environmental Health office is located at 1502 Williamson Road NE Roanoke VA. Phone (540) 204-9764.

The Environmental Health Division is responsible for the following programs:

Food Program (Restaurants, Caterers, Schools, Mobile Units, Adult Homes, Day Cares, Festivals)
Onsite Program (Private Sewage Disposal Systems and Drinking Water Wells)
Tourist Establishments Program (Hotels, Motels, Campgrounds, Bed & Breakfast Facilities)
Recreational Water Program (Public Pools & Water Parks)
Rabies Program (Exposure Case Management and Testing)
Lead Program (Lead Based Paint)
Tick Identification Program
General Environmental Health Program (General Environmental Complaints)

Food Program (Restaurants & Other Food Facilities)

The health department employs staff to help ensure the proper handling of food served to the public by working with food service operators to reduce risk factors associated with foodborne illnesses. Environmental Health Specialist Seniors (EHSSs) inspect food establishments that include: restaurants, caterers, schools cafeterias, mobile units, seasonal food facilities, child care centers, hospitals, nursing homes, and homes for adults and other institutions, continental breakfast facilities in tourist establishments, summer camps, and temporary food facilities at festivals and other events. Food facilities have an inspection frequency based on their VDH priority risk assessment rating. Our RCAHD staff typically make more than 2000 food service-related inspections each year.

Onsite Program (Septic Systems & Wells)

Residents in some of our RCAHD communities are among the 20% of Virginians who rely on private wells as their primary source of water. Our onsite program provides dedicated environmental health staff to help residents protect the water quality of private water supplies every day. Applications for private sewage disposal systems and water wells designed by licensed authorized conventional and alternative onsite soil evaluators (OSE & AOSE), as well as professional engineers (PE), are reviewed and permitted by this division. Onsite system applications may be for single-family residential use or large-scale commercial use. In some circumstances (applications that do not include owner speculation or any type other than a single-family residence), the site evaluation and design may be completed by RCAHD staff.
Do your part be septicsmart
This division also investigates complaints of failing sewage disposal systems and contaminated wells. When complaints are found to be valid, the owner may be required to complete corrective repairs.

Click here to view the Alternative Onsite Sewage System (AOSS) Operator Map.

Read more about the VDH Environmental Health Onsite Sewage Water Services.

VDH Septic and Well Assistance Program: You may qualify for a FREE program to have your private well and sewer fixed at no cost. If your well or septic system needs repairs, and your income is at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines, you may qualify. For guidelines or to obtain an application, visit (https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-health/swap/). Return the application to your local health department.

Roanoke County Residents: Well and septic applications will be received by the Roanoke City Health Department located at 1502 Williamson Road NE, 2nd Floor, 24012. Questions regarding Roanoke County well and septic applications should be directed to 540-204-9780 or 540-204-9763.

Tourist Establishment Program (Hotel, Motel, B&B, Campground)

Our staff inspect lodging facilities under the Virginia Sanitary Regulations for Hotels. These regulations establish standards that protect the health and safety of lodging patrons at establishments such as hotels, motels, campgrounds and bed and breakfast facilities. RCAHD lodging facilities receive at least one inspection per year. Each inspection includes at least 10% of the total number of rooms, and any other amenities such as pools, hot tubs, saunas, and continental breakfast facilities. All new tourist establishment facilities are required to have their plans reviewed and approved by the health department before a permit is issued. Complaints of tourist establishments are investigated by RCAHD staff.

Recreational Water Program (Pools & Water Parks)

Roanoke City, Roanoke County and the City of Salem all have local codes which require inspection and permitting of all public pools including apartment complexes, fitness centers and swim clubs. Roanoke City and Roanoke County charge a pool permit fee. Tourist establishment pools are inspected in all RCAHD jurisdictions according to state regulations. Depending on the jurisdiction, construction plans for new pools may be required for health department review and approval.

For more information, visit VDH Waterborne Hazards Control.

Rabies Program (Animal Confinements and Testing)

Rabies is a fatal, but preventable viral disease of mammals. The virus infects the central nervous system, ultimately causing brain inflammation and death. RCAHD staff work closely with local Animal Control divisions to review reports of all animal bites to ensure proper procedures for confinement, confinement releases and victim notifications. When animals are not located for confinement or testing, victims receive calls and letters regarding the state health department’s position on the need for rabies post-exposure treatment. In circumstances when animal rabies testing is necessary, division staff prepare the specimens for shipment to the state laboratory.

For more information, visit VDH Rabies Control.

Lead Program (Lead Based Paint)

The goal of the Lead Poisoning Prevention program is to prevent childhood lead exposure before any harm occurs. When caught early, families can prevent further exposure and reduce damage to their child’s health. After a physician identifies high lead levels in a child (typically under age 6), public health staff visit the child’s home and other places where the child may spend time, such as day care centers, to learn how the exposure may have occurred. Dust wipes, chipping paint samples, water and soil samples may be analyzed to determine the source of lead in the child’s environment. Resources are also provided to advise families of proper diet and cleaning practices to reduce the lead levels and improve the health of the child.

For more information, visit the CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

Tick Identification Program

Ticks have become common in Virginia and can be active on warm days at all times of the year, transmitting serious illnesses, including Lyme disease and Alpha-gal food allergy, and some life-threatening diseases such as ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

General Environmental Health Program

The RCAHD Environmental Health division provides support on additional environmental health issues on a case-by-case basis:

  • Complaints about improper containment of trash, garbage and “bulk” items such as brush, old tires and furniture, are typically referred for pickup by the local Department of Solid Waste Management. Contact your local health department office with complaints of rodent infestations.
  • Residents experiencing insect infestations such as bed bugs and roaches may contact our offices for education and advice.
    • Extermination duties may be performed on Roanoke City-owned public property such as sidewalks and parks that are not operating under private contract.
    • Division staff may assist the Western Virginia Water Authority to locate broken sewer lines associated with rodent infestations.
  • VDH does not have the capability to provide environmental testing or remediation for mold problems. For information regarding who to contact for mold removal, visit the VDH Mold Removal page.

For more specific information on any of these Environmental Health programs, or to file a complaint, please contact your local district office:

  • Roanoke City/County & Salem Health Department – (540) 204-9764
  • Alleghany & Covington Health Departments  – (540) 962-2173
  • Botetourt County Health Department – (540) 666-4275
  • Craig County Health Department – (540) 864-5136

Mailing Address:
Environmental Health Division
Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts
1502 Williamson Rd. 2nd Floor
Roanoke, VA  24012

Environmental Health Fees
Effective July 1, 2019 

Onsite Well and Septic Fees

Fee Title Fee
Certification Letter, Without OSE/PE Documentation (Well Not Included) $350.00
Construction Permit for an Onsite Sewage System (Without a Well) Without OSE/PE Documentation Included (Conventional Septic System Only) $425.00
Minor Sewage System Modification Permit $100.00
Construction Permit for a Well, Geo-Thermal Well or Well Abandonment $300.00
Combined Well and Onsite System Construction Permit Without OSE/PE Documentation Included (Conventional Septic System Only & Well) $725.00
Certification Letter With OSE/PE Documentation Designed Flow Is ≤ 1,000 gpd $320.00
Certification Letter With OSE/PE Documentation Designed Flow Is ≥ 1,000 gpd $1,400.00
Construction Permit for an Onsite Sewage System with OSE/PE Documentation Designed Flow Is ≤ 1,000 gpd $225.00
Construction Permit for a Onsite Sewage System with OSE/PE Documentation Designed Flow Is ≥ 1,000 gpd $1,400.00
Combined Well and Onsite System Construction Permit With OSE/PE Documentation Designed Flow Is ≤ 1,000 gpd $525.00
Combined Well and Onsite System Construction Permit With OSE/PE Documentation Designed Flow Is ≥ 1,000 gpd $1,700.00

OSE = Onsite Soil Evaluator "Licensed Professional"
PE = Professional Engineer
gpd = Gallon Per Day

Yearly Permit Fees

Fee Title Fee
Restaurant or Food Facility Permit $40.00
Restaurant Plan Review (Required for all new or renovated establishments) $40.00
Hotel/Motel Permit $40.00
Hotel/Motel Plan Review (Required for all new or renovated establishments) $40.00
Bed & Breakfast Permit $40.00
Bed & Breakfast Plan Review (Required for all new or renovated establishments) $40.00
Summer Camp Permit $40.00
Summer Camp Plan Review (Required for all new or renovated camps) $40.00
Campground Permit $40.00
Campground Plan Review (Required for all new establishments) $40.00
Roanoke City Pool Permit $50.00
Roanoke County Pool Permit $50.00
Temporary Event - Food Vendor Permit $40.00

FOIA or Document Request

Fee Title Fee
Freedom of Information Act “FOIA” Requests Reasonable fee based on staff time

For more Information

Information on all Environmental Health Rules and Regulations can be found on the VDH Web Site under the Office of Environmental Health Services (OEHS). https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/environmental-health/