The Land Use Program is truly the application of the vision of tomorrow to the projects of today. Long-term and general planning by various departments chart the course for land use projects. Environmental Health works in conjunction with several other regulatory and planning agencies, such as County Planning and Development Department; County Public Works Department, Flood Control; County Fire Department, for land use project review. Environmental Health Services’ component of this process is to look for the following: adequate potable water supply; proper sewage disposal; animal waste management; and vector control. Fees are collected based upon the specific project category (e.g. Conditional Use Permit, Lot Line Adjustment, etc.) as determined by the Planning and Development Department.
Adequate, potable water supply
Environmental Health Services’ goal is to protect both the ground water and other water sources within the County, while ensuring an adequate water supply that meets the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act for inhabitants.
In most cases, municipal or other approved domestic water supplies are readily available, and the applicant must only provide written documentation of an agreement with these entities that water will be provided. In the more remote areas of the County, it may be necessary to develop an onsite water supply. In this case, a separate permit, and process from Environmental Health will be a condition for final project approval.
In all cases, onsite water wells, rivers, streams or other water course, as well as areas on the property which hold or circulate water must be shown on a scaled, site plan. Adjacent water courses should also be shown. Specific setback requirements, such as a minimum 100 foot separation of a septic system leachfield, to a waterwell, must be adhered to.
Proper Sewage Disposal
Environmental Health prevents the spread of disease and the generation of odors and other nuisances by ensuring sewage is properly disposed. In most areas of the county, public, sanitary sewers are available for this purpose. The applicant must only provide written documentation that these public utilities will accept any sewage generated as part of their project to gain approval from Environmental Health Services.
In the more remote areas of the County, it may be necessary to develop onsite sewage disposal systems. In this case, it will be necessary for the applicant to demonstrate that sufficient space and soil absorptive capacity is available to properly dispose of all sewage effluent generated from the project. This is required prior to zoning clearance for the project. In addition, a separate, onsite sewage disposal system permit, from Environmental Health, must be submitted and approved prior to the issuance of a building permit by the Building and Safety Division of the Planning and Development Department.
All businesses that generate sewage, must submit a detailed, scaled plot plan that clearly shows the location of all water wells, rivers, streams or other water courses, as well as areas on the property which hold or circulate water. This plot plan should also include information relating to water sources on adjacent parcels. All information regarding existing septic system components must be included on the site plan as well as relevant topographical information. Any residences or other structures must be accurately depicted to ensure proper setbacks, according to the 1994 Uniform Plumbing Code and Regional Water Quality Control District Basin Plan.
Animal Waste Management
Environmental Health Services’ mission is to protect public health and the environment. One component is to prevent the spread of communicable diseases from animal wastes that are generated from horse boarding, training, or stabling facilities. Improperly stored, handled, or disposal animal waste may cause the spread of communicable diseases. Odors, that are often associated with mismanaged animal wastes attract flies and other vectors that can acquire diseases from the waste and spread these diseases over wide areas. Waste management plans are usually a component of a specific land use project, such as a Conditional Use Permit.
A properly designed animal waste management plan would typically be required prior to the issuance of zoning clearance for an appropriate project. The components of this project include:
- Volume of waste material generated per day. This includes manure, spilled feed, and used bedding. As a general rule, a 1,000 pound horse produces approximately 1 to 2 cubic feet of manure per day.
- A scaled site plan depicting all animal holding areas, manure storage facilities and vehicular access. The plan should also delineate all site drainage, adjacent or onsite watercourses and/or areas which hold or circulate water (i.e., lakes, ponds, pools, etc.).
- Collection procedures for the waste material. All manure, soiled bedding and spilled feed must be collected a minimum of two times per week. Wet spots should be dried as much as possible by raking and/or adding absorbent material. Manure deposited at wet racks or other wet areas should be collected immediately. Shady areas should be cleaned daily.
- Storage is allowable for a maximum of 4 days in an approved, container (such as trailer or truck bed, commercial refuse bin), protected from rainfall, that is emptied at least two times per week. Steam-cleaning of the container, or other approved methods is required at least monthly. Stockpiling on the ground is not permitted.
- Disposal is usually accomplished by taking the wastes to an approved solid waste landfill a minimum of twice weekly. This frequency prevents the completion of fly breeding cycles, which reduces vectors and therefore the spreading of disease. Alternate methods, such as spreading the manure in a one inch layer, on sufficient flat land, followed by dicing the material into the soil, is approved on a case by case basis.
- All necessary site maintenance and design equipment must be specified in the management plan. Examples include a tractor with a front-end loader, truck or trailer, manure spreader, harrow or disc, steam-cleaner, and other handtools.
- The site must be designed and maintained to discourage drainage through animal confinement and manure storage areas to prevent the offsite migration of wastes, and to allow for the proper drying of waste materials. Animal confinement and manure storage areas may not be located within 50 feet of a waterway, nor within 100 feet of a water well.
- General sanitation should include maintaining good air circulation and exposure to sunlight in animal confinement areas. This will include weed abatement, and removal of all refuse and waste materials as described above.
- Additional measures may be necessary to further control fly and other insect populations. These might include traps, chemical insecticides, or other recognized and properly applied control measures. Applicants are recommended to seek advice from a licensed pest control operator and/or the Cooperative Extension Farm Advisor.
- The final component would be a contingency plan for equipment breakdown, adverse weather conditions, staffing absences, etc.