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"Striving for a Healthier Community"

Environmental Health Services

The Environmental Health Department provides the following services:

  • Septic tank permits for new installations and existing systems as well as repair of failing systems.
  • Well permits for installation of new wells.
  • Water sampling for bacterial and chemical analysis.
  • Permits and inspections for facilities which provide food or lodging to the public (ex: restaurants, hotels).
  • Permits and inspections of public swimming pools.
  • Permits for tattoo facilities.
  • Food and Lodging Inspections
  • Vector control activities
  • Lead poisoning investigations

These services are provided by the Food & Lodging section and the Water & Sewage section.  Click here for a current listing of fees.

Certified Food Protection Manager Exam Information

Food and Lodging Section

The food and lodging section’s primary responsibility is conducting sanitation inspections for public facilities, which provide food and / or lodging accommodations. Other responsibilities include: complaint investigations, lead poisoning investigations, food borne outbreak investigations, and plan review for new establishments. Administrative rules can be found at http://www.deh.enr.state.nc.us/rules.htm.

Sanitation Inspections

          Duplin County Environmental Health is responsible for the sanitation grading of Restaurants, Food stands, Meat Markets, School Lunchrooms, Rest Homes, Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Childcare Centers and Lodging Facilities. Environmental Health Specialists are required to enforce North Carolina Rules and Regulations that govern the sanitation of these establishments.

During the inspection of a food handling establishment, there is an emphasis placed on factors that increase the chance of developing food borne illness. These critical risk factors are:

  • Poor personal hygiene/employee health
  • Food from unsafe sources
  • Contaminated equipment/cross contamination
  • Inadequate cooking temperatures
  • Improper hot and cold holding temperatures, improper reheating, and improper cooling

Additionally, routine inspections check sewage disposal, water supply, restroom facilities, pest control, cleaning, lighting and ventilation, construction of floors, walls and ceilings and garbage disposal.

Once an inspection is complete, the findings and results of the inspection are documented, reviewed with the owner / operator, and a letter grade card is posted. Sanitation grade cards are posted  where they may be readily observed by the public upon entering the establishment. All establishments are required by law to keep their grade card posted.

The sanitation grade is based on a 10 point scale and is as follows:

Grade  A    90- 100%
Grade  B
   80- 89.5%
Grade  C
   70- 79.5%

Any establishment failing to score at least 70% will have its permit revoked immediately. Click the link for a current list of grades. View WRAL Restaurants Listing for Duplin County.

Childcare centers are inspected once every six month period by an Environmental Health Specialist. Additional inspections may be conducted at any child care facility as often as necessary to ensure compliance with applicable sanitation standards.

Temperatures, handling, and preparation of food are checked during inspections. Additionally, the following items are checked regularly during inspections: diapering and diaper changing facilities, furniture, toys, beds, cots, linen, hand washing of staff and children, lighting and thermal environment, and  hot water temperatures at sinks that are accessible to children.

Once an inspection is complete, the findings and results of the inspection are documented on the appropriate inspection form. The form is then  reviewed with the owner / administrator, and  a sanitation classification card is posted. The classification rating is posted in the facility in a conspicuous place designated by the Environmental Health  Specialist. Child care centers are rated Superior, Approved, Provisional, or Disapproved based on a demerit-score grading system. The degree of the facility’s compliance with sanitation standards are indicated by the total demerit-point score. The demerit- score point system is as follows:

Superior            0-15  Demerits
          16-30 Demerits
        31-45   Demerits
     46 or more Demerits

Any center which violates a critical six point item  receives a provisional rating. When a center receives a provisional rating, another inspection is conducted within 7 days to determine if the critical item has been corrected. If it has been corrected, the provisional rating is changed to approved or superior. The provisional rating is changed to disapproved if the violation has not been corrected in the time allowed. Critical items that constitute a six point deduction  include, but are   not limited to: a  violation of hot water temperatures for children, improper diapering methods, unapproved diaper changing facilities, improper storage of chemicals and   medications, and wastewater disposal. Owners / administrators of child care centers may request a re-inspection for the purpose of raising their classification rating at any time.

Temporary Food Establishments

Temporary Food Establishments are required by North Carolina state law to obtain permits from this department prior to selling food. A temporary food establishment is an individual or organization that serves food or drink in connection with a fair, carnival, circus public exhibition, or other similar gathering. Event coordinators and vendors can download permit applications. Simply download the form here and either email it to maryc@duplincountync.com or mail it with all required attachments to our office at PO Box 948 Kenansville, NC 28349.

Event Coordinator Application | Temporary Food Service Application | Temporary Food Service Supplemental Documents for Vendors | Non-profit Exempt Form |

Complaint Investigations

The food & lodging section is responsible for investigating complaints received from the public against food and / or lodging establishments. To register a complaint, you may call (910) 296-2126.

Lead Investigations

Lead poisoning investigations are conducted  when  a child under six years of age has an elevated blood lead level. Blood lead testing is recommended for all children  under six years of age  for early detection. Investigations are used to attempt to find the source of lead in the child’s environment. Several residences may be involved. When a  source of lead is found, our department is responsible for  monitoring remediation and/or abatement activities.

Food borne Disease Outbreak Investigations

Communicable diseases which may be spread by food are reported to our office for follow- up.  If a large number of people become ill with a disease an investigation is conducted to try to determine the cause.

Plan Review

Plans, drawn to scale, and specifications, including the proposed menu, for new food service establishments must be submitted for review and approval to the local health department prior to initiating construction. The fee for this service is $200. Any changes in the dimensions of food preparation areas, seating capacity, or the addition of rooms to existing food service establishments must also be approved prior to renovating.  Click Here for plan review information and application.

Mobile Food Unit/Pushcart Application

Water and Sewage Section

On-site evaluations/permits/inspections

This office conducts on-site evaluations of proposed home sites to determine the suitability of the soil for an on-site sewage disposal system.  An application is made with this office for an improvements permit.  A plot plan is required to be furnished, which indicates the size of the lot that is to be evaluated, the size and location of the proposed dwelling, the size and location of any adjacent structures and future development, and the location of any wells or existing septic systems.

The size of septic systems are based on the number of bedrooms in a dwelling, the number of employees in a business, and the number of seats in a restaurant or a church. This information must be furnished to this office when the application is made.

After the above information is obtained, personnel from this office then visit the site and make a site evaluation.  When determining the site suitability, the following factors are taken into account:

  • Topography and landscape position: shape and slope of the lot (ex. hill or depression)
  • Soil characteristics (morphology):  texture-relative proportions of sand, silt, and clay size particles of the soil.  The textures are arranged into four general groups containing twelve textural classes ranging from sand to clay.
  • Structure:  the arrangement of the soil particles
  • Soil wetness conditions:  location of the seasonal high water table or perched water table, and is determined by observation of colors of chromo 2 or less using the Munsell Color Chart.
  • Soil depth:  the amount of suitable soil before an unsuitable factor such as rock or saprolite.
  • Restrictive horizons:  soil that is capable of perching ground water or sewage effluent. They are commonly referred to as hard pans and usually found in areas like bays.
  • Available space:  amount of suitable soil that can be used for the septic system and repair area.

After the site evaluation is completed, a classification is given to the site.   A suitable classification means that a conventional system can be installed with out any modifications to the site.  A provisionally suitable classification means that an  on-site system can be installed, with modifications being made to the site, or to the system design.  An unsuitable classification means that a septic system cannot be installed to meet the required rules and regulations, and the site is denied a septic system permit.

After the lot has been classified by the above categories, a permit is either issued or denied.  If a permit is issued, a diagram is provided to the applicant, along with the improvements permit, indicating exactly where the septic system should be installed.

A final inspection is required after the septic system installation is completed, so the operation permit can be issued and the system can be placed into use.

Sewage violations

Frequently this office is called to inspect possible violations of sewage disposal.   These may range from kitchen waste being piped to an open ditch, to a direct discharge pipe from the septic tank or toilet to a ditch or yard.  After making an inspection, and determining the validity of the complaint the appropriate action is taken.   If the violations are not corrected in the specified amount of time, criminal warrants may be issued.

Well permitting

Duplin County is one of a growing number of counties in North Carolina that has a well ordinance.  This means that all new well sites in the county must first be approved by this office. This helps to insure that wells are located the required setback distances from all sources of contamination and are constructed according the standards required by the state.  After a well permit is obtained and the well has been drilled, the well contractor will contact this office for a grouting inspection.  This inspection is to make sure that the well has been placed in the proper location, and to verify that the cement grout has been placed at the proper depth and mixed to the correct specifications.

Water sampling

Many residents of Duplin County depend on private wells for their water supply.   Often times these people rely on this department to sample their water when there is an unexplained illness, the water tastes or smells bad, or as a requirement for a real estate transaction.  Samples are collected by our office for a fee, and are analyzed by the Environmental Sciences Section of the State Laboratory of Public Health in Raleigh.   The most common samples that are taken are for bacterial and chemical analysis.

Bacterial sample: (Total and Fecal Coliform)

The Total Coliform test has for decades been considered the primary indicator of the bacteriological suitability for drinking water. The coliform group consists of four genera of bacteria-Enterobacter, Klebsiella, Citrobacter, and Eshericihia.  The presence of Total Coliforms indicate that the water is unsafe to drink.

Fecal Coliform is a subgroup of Total Coliform and a term that is frequently used synonymously with E. Coli.  The presence of Fecal Coliform bacteria indicates the recent introduction of bacteria from the intestinal tract of warm blooded animals.  Anyone drinking water which is contaminated with Coliform Bacteria would also be at risk of ingesting any pathogenic organisms that may be present.

The chemical analysis tests for the levels of alkalinity, arsenic, calcium, chloride, copper, hardness, lead, iron, magnesium, manganese, pH, fluoride, zinc in the private water supply.

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Phone Number:
(910) 296-2126
121 Middleton Cemetery Lane, Kenansville, NC 28349
Hours of Operation:
Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.