Public & Environmental Health
The Flinders Ranges Council has a legislative duty of care to promote proper standards of public health to ensure that food premises are operated and maintained in a clean and sanitary condition and that food for sale is safe and suitable to eat. In keeping with this duty of care, Council's Environmental Health Officer undertakes a variety of tasks which are divided into the two areas of public health and food safety.
Community Wellbeing and Regional Health PlanThe Flinders Ranges Council Community Wellbeing and Regional Health Plan was adopted by Council pursuant to Section 51(15)&(16) of the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 on Tuesday 19 January 2016.
The Flinders Ranges Council Community Wellbeing and Regional Health Plan can be found here.
We are fortunate in Australia to have access to an abundance of fresh foods and our cultural diversity is reflected in the many different styles of foods we eat. Unfortunately, many of these foods, if not properly handled, can provide food poisoning organisms the perfect opportunity to grow and so contaminate the food. This contaminated food, if eaten, may result in sickness that can range from a minor stomach upset through to an extremely severe, life threatening illness.
Council's Environmental Health Officer may (if substantiated) investigate cases of food related illness where the ill person usually blames restaurant meals or take away foods. While commercially produced food can be the cause of illness, investigation reveals that poor food handling practices at home is often a significant factor.
Should you think you have food poisoning, seek medical help immediately. The doctor will require a stool sample (faecal sample) to confirm that you have food poisoning.
Click here for Public Health Information Sheets: public-health-factsheets.htm
All businesses selling food are required to 'notify' their local council. Under the Food Act 2001, a food business means a business, enterprise or activity (other than a primary food production business) that involves:
(a) the handling of food intended for sale; or
(b) the sale of food
regardless of whether the business, enterprise or activity concerned is of a commercial, charitable or community nature or whether it involves the handling or sale of food on one occasion only.
Food business even includes businesses like chemists, cinemas, delicatessen, canteens, child care centres, liquor stores, video stores, petrol stations and swimming pools, if they sell packaged or any other type of food. Food businesses, from major food manufacturers to the local church group or sporting club that holds a once per year food fair, have defined responsibilities under the legislation to ensure the safety of food.
Mobile food businesses will notify the council in which the vehicle is normally garaged.
How does a food business notify?
You will need to complete a Food Business Notification Form FRC Food Business Notification Form(55 kb). There is no fee to notify and notification is only required once, however any change in details must be updated with Council.
Please note that a food business must notify Council of food handling operations before they commence. [Refer to Food Safety Standard 3.2.2 Division 2 Clause 4]
If you operate an existing business that has not 'notified' please contact the Council for assistance.
The Food Safety Standards are available in PDF format from the Food Standards Australia web site. There are numerous other fact sheets and food related articles available also. Click here to access the Food Standards Website
There are over 50 registered food operations within The Flinders Ranges Council area including supermarkets, food processors and growers as well as delicatessens, restaurants and takeaways, service stations, school canteens, clubs and hotels.
Working under the jurisdiction of the Food Act and Regulations, an Environmental Health Officer will routinely inspect food premises, investigate reports of food poisoning, and respond to customer complaints relating to food safety and conduct food safety education programs in schools and food premises.
Environmental Health Officers administer the South Australian Public Health Act 2011 and associated Regulations and undertake to promote public health through the prevention of disease, environmental protection and the control of insanitary conditions.
Some of the more common issues dealt with by Council's Environmental Health Officer are briefly discussed below and include links to more detailed information.
Installation approval must be obtained from the relevant authority before a wastewater system is installed or altered.
For small systems - up to 40 equivalent persons (EP) - applications for installation must be made to:
The local council for the area in which the system is to be installed
Further information can be obtained by contacting the Environmental Health Officer at your local council. Go to the Local Government Association website to locate the council responsible for a particular town or suburb; or
The Department for Health and Ageing’s Regional Services Section for areas not under local government administration.
For larger systems - greater than 40 equivalent persons (EP) - contact the Department for Health and Ageing's Wastewater Management Section.
The EP calculation is based on a hydraulic flow of 150 litres/day per person and an organic load of 50 g BOD5/day per person at the septic tank outlet. If a large system is to be installed and you are not sure if it comes within these criteria, contact the Wastewater Management Section for further advice.
An application fee applies for installation applications. Contact officers from the above authorities for the current fee. We recommend that you discuss the proposed installation with these officers in the early stages of planning a property development. There may be important design considerations that need to be identified before planning decisions are made.
In an area serviced by a Community Wastewater Management System (CWMS) operated by Council, the installation proposal should be discussed with Council. There may be a requirement for wastewater systems to be connected to the existing scheme.
Codes and Standards
On-site systems must comply with the On-site Wastewater Systems Code (PDF 111KB).
Printed copies of the code can be obtained from the Wastewater Management Section.
All products used for on-site wastewater treatment in South Australia must be approved by the Department prior to sale or installation. Check the approved products lists or contact the manufacturer/supplier of the wastewater system to ensure that the proposed unit is an approved product.
All new sanitary plumbing and drainage work must comply with the National Construction Code (NCC) Volume 3 Plumbing Code of Australia (PCA), the South Australian Variations and/or Additional Provisions as listed in Appendix A of the PCA and the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 3500 Plumbing and Drainage. The standard can be obtained from Standards Australia.
The Environment Protection Authority has published the South Australian Biosolids Guidelines for the safe handling, reuse or disposal of biosolids (PDF 553KB) as a guide to the beneficial, safe and sustainable reuse of biosolids from wastewater:
The following application form must be used for on-site wastewater system installations:
Information that must be provided with the application is outlined in the On-site Wastewater Systems Code (PDF 111KB).
Regular maintenance of an on-site wastewater system is important for its efficient operation. If you have a property with a wastewater treatment system and would like to know more about its maintenance, the following fact sheets may provide useful information:
High Risk Manufactured Water Systems (HRMWS)
The South Australian Public Health (Legionella) Regulations 2013 (the Legionella Regulations) and the Guidelines for the Control of Legionella in Manufactured Water Systems in South Australia (the Legionella Guidelines) commenced on 16 June 2013. The Legionella Regulations and Guidelines aim to reduce the risk of community and healthcare acquired legionellosis (Legionnaires’ Disease).
The Legionella Regulations and Guidelines formalise the management of warm water systems and cooling water systems (cooling towers and evaporative condensers) in non-domestic settings in South Australia.
The Legionella Regulations and Guidelines prescribe a number of specific requirements for owners and operators of cooling water systems and warm water systems.
What is a cooling water system?
The Legionella Regulations define a cooling water system as ‘a heat exchange system that consists of a heat generating plant, a heat rejection plant, interconnecting water recirculating pipe work and associated pumps, valves and controls, and includes a cooling tower or evaporative condenser’.
What is a warm water system?
The Legionella Regulations define a warm water system as ‘a reticulated water system that distributes or recirculates warm water through the majority of its branches at a nominal temperature of 45°C by means of a temperature controlling device’.
Do the Legionella Regulations apply to me?
The Regulations apply to the owner(s)* of all warm water system(s) and/or cooling water system(s), except for systems installed in:
(a) a Class 1A, 4 or 10 building (private single domestic dwelling) under the Building Code, or
(b) a sole occupancy unit in a class 2 building (unit or flat) under the Building Code, provided that it is not a warm water system that serves more than one dwelling.
*Note: As specified in the Legionella Regulations, a reference to the owner of the premises includes a reference to an occupier of the premises if the occupier is responsible for the operation of the system.
Where can I get a copy of the Regulations and Guidelines?
Contact Health Protection Programs for printed copies of the Guidelines
See the Standards Australia website to purchase and download the Australian Standards referenced by the Legionella Regulations.
Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS) 3666: Air-handling and water systems of buildings – Microbial Control, Parts 1, 2 and 3
Handbook SAA/SNZ HB32, Control of microbial growth in air-handling and water systems of buildings
Compliance inspection/report proformas
SA Health has produced inspection and report proformas to assist local authorities and independent competent inspectors in undertaking mandatory compliance inspections and producing the required reports.
Legionella detection mandatory notification form
General information on Legionella
Legionellosis and Legionnaires’ Disease
Circulars to local councils
For more information, please visit http://dh.sa.gov.au/pehs/legionella-regulations-guidelines.htm
Rats are a well-known risk to public health due to their ability to spread a variety of serious diseases. They can also cause significant damage to properties due to their need to keep their teeth short by gnawing. Rats are usually nocturnal and if seen during daylight hours usually signify a large rat population, an abundance of food or the rats may be affected by poison bait. Environmental Health Officers investigate reports of suspected rat infestations and if necessary may require the owner or occupier of premises to carry out work on the premises such that rat harbourage is minimised. Compliance with such requests is encouraged, as non-compliance may result in an Insanitary Conditions Notice being served. Penalties may apply.
Environmental Health Officers are often called to investigate offensive odours on domestic premises when dog faeces are not being properly disposed of. In addition to the smell causing offence to neighbours, animal faeces left in gardens may provide a food source for pests and is considered insanitary if not properly managed. Any person allowing such an offensive condition may be issued with a $300 expiation notice (fine) under the Public and Environmental Health Act 1987. Dog faeces should be picked up and properly disposed of in a sanitary manner at a minimum of once a week. If you have a large dog or numerous dogs on the property, you will need to do this more frequently. It is recommended that the faeces is disposed of in a garbage bag, tied up, and disposed of in you weekly rubbish bin.
Hairdressers, Beauty Salons & Tattooists
The Flinders Ranges Council has a number of premises that are considered to practice hairdressing and/or skin penetration. These businesses should notify Council of their existence so that they can be inspected to ensure they have safe and hygienic practices. Having updated contact details will allow Council to provide them with any changes in legislation, codes of practice, or guidelines when necessary.
The Department of Health has produced Guidelines on the Public Health Standards for Hairdressing and Guidelines on the Safe and Hygienic Practice of Skin Penetration. These can be found at:
Click here to access the Guideline on the Public Health Standards of Practice for Hairdressing
Click here to access the Guidelines on the Safe and Hygienic Practice of Skin Penetration
Surprisingly there still appears to be a social stigma associated with the occurrence of head lice in children. Lice infest males and females of all socio-economic positions and age groups. The Environmental Health Officer is available to give advice on the proper treatment of head lice.
The two most common headlice treatment methods are 'wet combing' and 'chemical' treatment:
* 'Wet combing' involves wetting hair and scalp liberally with hair conditioner to stun the headlice, then combing the headlice and nits out
* 'Chemical' treatment uses 'pediculicides' which kill the headlice.
There is an abundance of material about headlice that can be accessed at here
Mosquitoes have long been considered a nuisance, particularly when their invasive biting disrupts social gatherings at home. Certain types of mosquito are known to transmit diseases such as malaria in the tropics and closer to home, Ross River Fever. Council does however receive complaints from time to time alleging mosquito breeding in swales, creeks, poorly maintained swimming pools and rainwater tanks. Following a few simple rules will eliminate mosquito-breeding sites and provide personal protection against their bites.
The Department of Health has developed 'Fight the Bite" resources that can be found by clicking here.
Swimming Pools and Spa Pools
Public swimming pools and spa pools are routinely monitored to ensure that the water quality complies with the legislative requirements and that the facilities are properly maintained. There are no legislative controls that deal specifically with water quality in private pools and spas but should these facilities be not properly maintained on private premises (e.g. allowing mosquito breeding in dirty pool water), Council's Environmental Health Officer may require the owners to take action under the South Australian Public Health Act 2011.
During winter months Council sometimes receives complaints about smoke generated from combustion heaters. This is usually as a result of inefficient use of the heater and/or the burning of unseasoned or damp wood. Put simply, smoke is unburnt fuel, which, in addition to wasting your money, may cause annoyance or distress to neighbours and pollute the environment.
The Environment Protection Agency provides information about combustion heaters (solid fuel fires) on their publications page - click here to access.
Any complaints regarding combustion heaters should be directed to the Environment Protection Agency on (08) 8204 2000.
For more information, please contact:
The Department of Health, www.deh.gov.au/atmosphere/airquality/woodsmoke/
The Environment Protection Agency, www.epa.sa.gov.au/woodsmoke
The Australian Heating Association, Ph: (08) 8351 9288
The Department of Health
The Environment Protection Agency
The Australian Heating Association
Council's Environmental Health Officer deals with customer enquiries and concerns relating to all of the above topics. If you need to lodge a complaint you can do so by contacting Council on 8620 0500 and the person taking your call will pass on your concerns to the Environmental Health Officer.