Environmental Health Services

Darrin Thompson
E-Mail:   dthompson@co.wabasha.mn.us
Phone: (651)-565-5200
Fax: (651)-565-2637

Environmental Health Program
This area is responsible for enforcing county ordinances and administering programs designed to protect and enhance public health and environmental quality in Wabasha County. The various issues covered under the Environmental Health area include: individual sewage treatment systems; water supply wells;  water testing; air quality and indoor air quality; lead; asbestos; and other environmental hazards. The Environmental Health staff also conducts investigations of environmental and public health issues.

Facility Licensing:
To find the MDH Contact for licensing, complaints or general questions, please visit:
Food, Pools, and Lodging Services (FPLS) - Licensing Contacts

Why is Radon Important?  Radon is a naturally occurring gas that enters buildings from the surrounding soil.  It is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and radioactive.  The amount of radon found in mny Minnesota homes may post a large risk to health.  Radon is known to cause cancer in humans and is a leading cause of lung cancer in the United States, second only to tobacco smoking.

Should I test my home for radon?  YES!  Testing is the only way to find out how much radon is in your home.  The Minnesota Department of Health estimates that one in three Minnesota homes has radon levels above the EPA's recommended action level.

TEST KITS ARE AVAILABLE!  Short term testing kits are available.  For more information, please call our office.

Well Testing
How often should I have my well tested?  Owners of private wells should test yearly for total coloform bacteria and nitrate nitrogen.

What will testing for total coliform bacteria and nitrate-nitrogen tell me?  Testing for total coliform bacteria and nitrate-nitrogen are the basic tests for sanitary quality of drinking water.  Coliform bacteria are found naturally in the intestines of warm-blooded animals (including humans), soil, lake and river water.  Coliform bacteria are not normally present in groundwater.  Although coliform bacteria themselves are harmless, the presence of these bacteria indicate that contamination has occurred, and other disease producing bacteria may be present.  Hence, coliform bacteria are referred to as "indicator" organisms.  Nitrate is found in fertilizers and is also formed furing the decay of organic matter, such as sewage and animal wastes.  The maximum recommended level set by state and federal fuidelines for nitrate-nitrogen is 10mg/L.  While not generally harmful to children or adults, water that exceeds 10 mg/L of nitrate-nitrogen is potentially fatal to infants younger than 6 months of age.  The limit is established to prevent the occurence of methemoblobinemia in intants, also knows as "blue baby syndrome."  Water containing more than 10 mg/L should not be used in preparing formula for infants.  Water that is elevated in nitrates should not be boiled when preparing formula, as boiling the water actually increases the nitrate level.