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Environmental Services

The Environmental Health Division is responsible for the permitting and inspecting of motels and detention facilities, food service establishments, which include: convenience stores, grocery stores, motels, restaurants, and school cafeterias, all located within Madison County. Food laws and regulations exist to protect the public health safety.

Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information about the Environmental Health Division, call (256) 533-8726.

Community and Environmental Protection

Community and Environmental Protection includes three branches: Soil and Onsite Sewage, Indoor Air Quality/Lead, and Solid Waste. For more information, call (256) 533-8726, or
toll free at the Main ADPH Environmental office is 1-800-819-7644.

Food Handling and Food Safety Regulations

The inspection and regulation of restaurants and other food service facilities in Alabama
is the responsibility of the Alabama Department of Public Health environmental staff at
the county health departments and the Division of Food, Milk, and Lodging (FML). ADPH
enforces rules for establishments, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and convenience stores.

Inspection reports and permits are required to be posted in conspicuous view within the establishment. A numerical scoring system on a 100-point scale is used with points deducted for each violation.

The safety of food sold at retail in Alabama, and of food, other than red meat and poultry, processed in Alabama, is the responsibility of the environmental staff of the county health departments and of the FML at the central office.

FML officially announces rules and regulations affecting safety and sanitation of food, sanitation
of lodging facilities, and also issues guidelines for the inspection of prisons and jails. The division administers and enforces sanitation rules for milk and seafood. Rules for establishments, such
as convenience and grocery stores, food manufacturing plants, restaurants, tattoo facilities; and camps and hotels are all enforced by the county health departments’ environmentalists.

Trained environmentalists review, inspect and monitor a large number of installations and
products to help ensure a safe environment. They issue permits to restaurants, motels, hotels, septic tanks, etc. If citizens have questions or complaints concerning environmental matters,
call (256) 533-8726.

Food and Lodging - Inspections and Permits

Inspection scores reflect compliance with minimum health standards, only at the time of the inspection. Scores are based on a 100-point scale.

Establishments with a score of 85 or above are inspected every four months. Establishments with a score below 85 are inspected at least every 60 days.

A score between 70 and 60 requires immediate corrective action within 48 hours. If a restaurant scores below 60, it is closed immediately until it can attain a score of 85. Establishments with deficiencies in critical items (critical items are marked in red on the Food Service Report Sheet) are inspected within ten (10) working days.

Onsite Sewage Disposal

Alabama law requires homeowners and businesses, not connected to a public sanitary sewer, to obtain a permit from the local health department, prior to installing a new system or making repairs to an existing onsite system. Prior to installing an onsite sewage system or septic system, call the health department to schedule an inspection. The health department will issue an "Approval for Use" before the building can be occupied.

Complaints regarding illegal dumping are investigated and prosecuted by the Solid Waste program. Visit Onsite Sewage and Solid Waste for more information.

*State law requires septic tank installers and pumpers to be licensed by the Alabama Onsite Wastewater Board.

Vector Control

  • Pests
    Vector Control manages mosquito control, citywide spraying and investigates possible breeding sites for mosquitos. This division is also responsible for providing services to help reduce potential mosquito spread of diseases, such as encephalitis and West Nile Virus.
    Vector Control investigates and tests birds for diseases, such as Histoplasmosis, all dog bites that occur within the city limits of Huntsville, and rabies from biting animals.
  • Rabies
    A viral infection of the central nervous system, and almost always a fatal disease once contracted, the rabies virus is found in the saliva of infected animals. It is transmitted by bites, scratches or through mucous membrane contact with the saliva of an infected animal. Our domesticated animals serve as a buffer between humans and the wild animal population. That's the reason it is important (and the law) for dog and cat owners to have their pets over three months of age vaccinated annually.

Treat animals that exhibit atypical or unusual behavior cautiously, such as:

  • Nocturnal animals normally active at night being seen in the daytime
  • A wild animal that shows no fear of humans
  • Wild animals acting unusual for the species
  • Domestic animals acting in an unusual manner

Animals very susceptible to rabies are:

  • Bats
  • Coyotes
  • Foxes
  • Raccoons
  • Skunks

Page last updated: May 13, 2021