Environmental Health Delegation Agreements
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Environmental health programs protect Minnesotans from environmental hazards by ensuring that they have clean drinking water, safe food, sanitary lodgings, and protection from hazardous materials and public health nuisances in their environment. The Division of Environmental Health at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) operates programs in these areas to achieve that goal:
- Water Well Code
- Safe Drinking Water
- Manufactured Home Parks, Recreational Camping Areas and Youth Camps
- Swimming Pools
- Food, Beverage and Lodging
- Indoor Environments, including the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act
- Radiation Equipment and Sources
- Human Health Risks/Toxicology
Minn. Stat. § 145A.07 states that the commissioner of health may enter into an agreement with any board of health to delegate all or part of the licensing, inspection, reporting, and enforcement duties authorized under a variety of statutes including the Safe Drinking Water Act; Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act; investigation, reporting and control of communicable diseases; provisions of Minn. Stat. § 103I pertaining to construction, repair, and abandonment of water wells; Food, Beverage and Lodging; Youth Camps; Manufactured Home Parks and Recreational Camping Areas.
As of January 2012, responsibility for regulating all or some of these programs is delegated by the commissioner of health to 35 cities and counties. The existing delegation agreements were signed in 2010. The delegation agreement contains standards that promote uniformity and consistency statewide.
All of the supporting materials for the environmental health delegation agreement can be found online. Companion documents to the EHS delegation agreement are the Evaluation Protocol, Evaluation Tools and the Best Practices Manual (also found online).
Rather than a single blanket agreement for all environmental health programs, three separate agreements exist:
- Environmental health services (food, beverage and lodging)
- Well management program
- Non-community water supply program
The reason for having three separate agreements is that the three programs are run independently and if there are changes in one program, the entire agreement will not need to be renegotiated. Fewer counties have well program delegation than the environmental health services (EHS) delegation. Also, the EHS programs are closely linked to federal FDA food safety regulations and the drinking water protection programs are tied to federal US EPA regulations. It is expected that any changes in federal law will necessitate changes in the state program. Separating the agreements will streamline future adjustments.
Because of the 2007 Legislative changes that the Freedom to Breathe Act made in the Minnesota Clean Indoor Air Act, any local agency that operates a delegated EHS program will enforce the MCIAA through the Minnesota Food Code (Minn. R. 4626.1820) and local law enforcement authority.
For more information about these agreements, please contact the MDH Division of Environmental Health.