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Public & Environmental Health

What we doPublic health is concerned with the protection and promotion of health and the prevention of illness, injury and disability within the community.  Environmental health is a key component of public health and explores the impact of the built and natural environments on the physical, social and psychological wellbeing of people.
 
Council's Environmental Health office administers a raft of state legislation on specific public health issues and also provides advice to the community in general on the public health aspects of environmental issues.
 
The primary piece of legislation that relates directly to public health is the Public Health Act 1997.  A range of legally enforceable guidelines have been developed under the Act that can be directly accessed via the Department of Health & Human Services.
 
To find out more about the specific activities in this area, click on the link below;

  1. Immunisation
  2. Pests
  3. Public Health Risk Activities
  4. Recreational Water
  5. Commercial Water Carriers/Private Water Suppliers
  6. Regulated Systems
  7. Places of Assembly

Immunisation
Council offers both a monthly clinic for babies and small children as well as a school based program for grade 7 students.  Please visit our immunisation page to learn more about what immunisation is and the services we offer.

 

PestsPests are creatures that in certain circumstances are seen as undesirable either from a health and hygiene perspective or for their nuisance value or economic impact.

 

The control of pests is primarily concerned with preventing a risk to public health, this may include:

  • The nuisance or health (pain) effects from physically being bitten or stung;
  • The transmission of diseases like malaria and Ross River virus from bites or stings;
  • Infections from pathogenic bacteria at the site of the bite; or
  • The cross contamination of food or food contact surfaces with pathogens such as salmonella and leptospirosis.

To learn more about the more common pests affecting our community, please refer to the following fact sheets:

Environmental Health - Bees and Wasps
Environmental Health - Insect Pests
Environmental Health - Rats and Mice

Please note that residents are responsible for dealing with all pests on their land, either directly or by engaging an appropriately qualified pest contractor.  Council will manage vermin/pest infestations on Council property only..

 

To report a wasp or bee infestation on Council land, please call Council on 6216 6800 or to gccmail@gcc.tas.gov.au.

 

Please provide an exact location of where the pests are swarming, so that Council’s contractor can locate and eradicate the nest as soon as possible.

 

Public Health Risk Activities
Public health risk activities are activities that may result in the transmission of disease and include ear and body piercing and tattooing.  The Public Health Act 1997 regulates the licensing, operation, use and management of all places that are used for public health risk activities.
 
Due to the significant risk associated with these activities, enforceable guidelines have been developed under the Public Health Act 1997.  Operators must abide by these guidelines.
 
Skin penetration procedures may increase the risk of transmitting disease-causing organisms such as HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and skin infections by common bacteria if not performed correctly.
 
Infections can also occur when the client comes into contact with materials which are not clean or used hygienically.  For example, this can occur when the operator does not keep the premises or themselves in a clean and hygienic manner or where the disinfection and sterilisation of instruments is ineffective.
 
Council’s Environmental Health Officers regularly check that these types of premises within the city are licensed under the Act and are maintained in a clean and sanitary condition.
 
If you would like to know more about what is legally required to conduct a public health risk activity, click on the following links to the Public and Environmental Heath Service web site:

 

A person must obtain a licence issued under the Public Health Act 1997 to lawfully undertake a public health risk activity.

 

If you wish to apply for a registration please complete the ‘Public Health Risk Activity Application’ form and submit to Council.  You will then be invoiced from Council.  It is recommended you speak with an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) prior to submitting your application.  You can contact an EHO on (03) 6216 6800.

 

Recreational WaterWater-based activities are a significant source of recreation for many people living in and around the Derwent Estuary and the many adjacent waterways.  Swimming is one of the main activities over the summer months however there are many other recreational uses for rest, relaxation and exercise that occur throughout the year.
 
Although use of recreational waters can provide enormous benefits to health and well-being it can also adversely affect health.  Contaminated water can cause gastroenteritis if swallowed or may cause infections to open cuts and sores.
 
Recreational Water Quality Guidelines 2007 (the Guidelines) have been developed under the Public Health Act 1997 to protect public health.  Under these guidelines, during the swimming season, microbiological testing of swimming beaches must be undertaken weekly.  If levels exceed specified limits, signs must be erected warning of the dangers of swimming.  Windermere Beach in Claremont is Glenorchy City Council’s only recognised swimming beach and is tested weekly from 1 December through to 30 March.  Council Environmental Health Officers also sample a number of other locations along the Derwent River during the summer months.  For more information please see the Derwent Estuary Programs website.
 
The Guidelines also govern the use of public swimming pools and spas.  They aim to manage the risks associated with swimming pools including their operation and the precautions that must be taken to achieve a safe environment for the people that use them.
 
Operators of public swimming facilities are required to comply with the Guidelines and meet certain water quality specifications.  There is also an obligation for regular microbial testing of pools and spas to ensure disinfection techniques are working satisfactorily.  Further information on the requirements of operating public swimming facilities, sampling methods and general information on recreational waters can be found by clicking on the links below.

 

Environmental Health - Pool and Spa Sampling

Commercial Water Carriers / Private Water Suppliers
The Public Health Act 1997 (Drinking Water Quality Guidelines) places operational requirements on commercial water carriers and private water suppliers in Tasmania.  These guidelines establish best practice frameworks for controlling authorities to effectively manage drinking water quality. These are legally enforceable requirements and replace the 2005 version of the guidelines.

 

Water Carters
A ‘Water Carter’ means a person who supplies drinking water in bulk, other than prepackaged drinking water or pre-packaged ice, via transportation in a water tank, whether or not for fee or reward.

 

Under section 136E of the Public Health Act 1997, a water carrier must register with the council in whose municipality the water carrier stores the majority of its vehicles.  A water carrier must supply water in a manner that does not pose a threat to public health and in accordance with council registration conditions and relevant guidelines issued under the Act.

 

For further information please see the Drinking Water Quality Guidelines. If you wish to apply for a registration please complete the ‘Water Carrier Application’ form and submit to Council with associated fees. It is recommended you speak with an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) prior to submitting your application. You can contact an EHO on (03) 6216 6800.

 

Private Water Suppliers
A ‘Private Water Supplier’ means the person in charge of premises to which drinking water obtained from a private water source is supplied or sought to be supplied.

 

Under section 133 of the Public Health Act 1997, a private drinking water supplier must register with the council.  There are 2 exceptions to this:

 

  1. Registration is not required if the supplier is a food business that is already registered with the council under the Food Act 2003 and the supply of water from a private water source occurs as part of the conduct of that food business.
  2. Registration is not required by a person who supplies water from a private water source as part of a residential tenancy agreement or a contract to lease premises (for example a short-term holiday rental agreement or a long-term lease).

Under section 136A of the Public Health Act 1997, a private drinking water supplier must supply water in a manner that does not pose a threat to public health and must comply with council registration conditions and relevant guidelines issued under the Act (see below).  Registration conditions may include requirements to sample and test water to determine compliance with Australian Drinking Water Guidelines values.

 

For further information please see the Drinking Water Quality Guidelines.  If you wish to apply for a registration please complete the ‘Private Water Supplier Application’ form and submit to Council with associated fees. It is recommended you speak with an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) prior to submitting your application. You can contact an EHO on (03) 6216 6800.

 

Regulated SystemsThe Public Health Act 1997 makes provision for the Director of Public Health to require registration of specified classes of regulated systems.  Cooling towers and warm water systems are examples of regulated systems that are required to be registered pursuant to the Act.
 
The purpose of the registration is to assist in tracing possible environmental sources of legionella infection.  It is also to improve the maintenance and operation of cooling tower and warm water systems to minimise opportunities for legionella spread.  Owners of premises where these regulated systems are installed must not operate them unless they have been registered.
 
Annual registration is required for all of cooling towers and warm water systems under the Act and their compliance with the Guidelines for Control of Legionella in Regulated Systems  is monitored and enforced by Council’s Environmental Health Officers to protect members of the public from outbreaks of legionnaires disease.

 

If you wish to apply for a registration please complete the ‘Regulated Systems Registration Application’ form and submit to Council with associated fees. It is recommended you speak with an Environmental Health Officer (EHO) prior to submitting your application. You can contact an EHO on (03) 6216 6800.

 
For further information on legionnaire’s disease, please click here.

Places of AssemblyUnder the Public Health Act 1997 (the Act) any ‘mass outdoor public event’ is required to have a Place of Assembly Licence.

 

‘mass’ means 1000 people or more, present for two hours or more.

 

‘public event’ includes, but is not limited to, any performance, exhibition, circus, festival, food festival, pageant, regatta, sports event, dance and publicly advertised lecture.
 
For further information regarding Places of Assembly, please see the public events page.