Contact Information

  • Environmental Health
  • (828) 465-8270
  • Contact via email
  • Main Location:PO Box 389 Newton, NC 28658
  • (view all county locations)

Facilities

The Food, Lodging and Institution section of the Environmental Health Department is responsible for permitting and inspecting restaurants, food stands, mobile food units, pushcarts, meat markets, elderly nutrition sites, school lunchrooms, school buildings, lodging places, bed and breakfast places, hospitals, rest and nursing homes, child and adult day care, residential care, jails, boarding schools, orphanages, swimming pools, spas, summer camps and tattoo parlors.

Catawba County Environmental Health Specialists inspect child care centers twice per fiscal year. Child care centers are defined as a program where three or more children less than 13 years old who do not reside where the care is provided, receive care on a regular basis of a least once per week for more than four hours but less than 24 hours per day from persons other than their guardians or full time custodians, or from persons not related to them by birth, marriage, or adoption. There are exceptions to the rule and you can contact this department for them.

For more information, on rules governing child care centers, review 15A NCAC 18A .2802 Approval of Construction and Renovation Plans andRules Governing the Sanitation of Child Care Centers.

It is the responsibility of the owner or operator to meet all building codes, zoning ordinances, fire, tax and other laws, rules and ordinances applicable to the food service operation. The facility must be either hooked up to a public water system or well water. If the facility is connected to well water, then a water sample must be taken prior to opening. Sewage shall be disposed of into a proper onsite sewage system or public waste water system. If the facility has an onsite sewage system, a tank check is required to ensure that the existing system is sized properly.

More information: Using bleach in a child care center

View child care center inspection scores here

A residential care facility is an establishment providing room or board and for which a license or certificate for payment is obtained from the Department of Human Resources. Residential care facilities are distinct from child day care facilities.

Plans and specifications for new construction or modification of residential care facilities, except family foster homes, shall be submitted to the agency designated by the state licensure regulations and to the local health department for review and approval before beginning construction. More information can be found at 15A NCAC 18A .1602.

The facility must be either hooked up to a public water system or well water. If the facility is connected to well water, then a water sample must be taken prior to opening. Sewage shall be disposed of into either a proper onsite sewage system or public waste water system. If the facility has an onsite sewage system, a tank check is required to ensure that the existing system is sized properly.

Catawba County Environmental Health inspects residential care facilities at least once a year. Inspections are required for family foster homes only for those homes served by individual or non-community water supplies or on-site sewage systems. A copy of the inspection form shall be provided to the person in charge of the facility. If conditions found at the time of the inspection are dangerous to the health of the residents, the agency supervising the family foster home shall be notified immediately by telephone or other direct means by the sanitarian. More information on inspections can be found in 15A NCAC 18A .1603.

Find inspection scores here

Hospitals and nursing facilities are inspected twice per fiscal year by Catawba County Environmental Health.

In addition to any other licensure requirements, plans shall be submitted to the local health department for review and approval before beginning construction. More information can be found at 15A NCAC 18A .1302.

The facility must be either hooked up to a public water system or well water. If the facility is connected to well water, then a water sample must be taken prior to opening. Sewage shall be disposed of into either a proper onsite sewage system or public waste water system. If your facility has an onsite sewage system, a tank check is required to ensure that the existing system is sized properly.

Catawba County Environmental Health inspects and grades facilities once each six months and food services at institutions that prepare and serve meals to 13 or more patients or residents shall be inspected at least once each quarter.

Inspections of food preparation and central dining areas in institutions serving meals to 13 or more patients or residents shall be documented separately using the inspection forms and grading system used for grading restaurants as specified 15A NCAC 18A .2600. When grading the food preparation and central dining areas of institutional food services that are not required to obtain a permit under G.S. 130A-248, the provisions of Rule .1323(d) of this Section shall supercede the provisions of Rule 15A NCAC 18A .2610(e) regarding animals in dining areas. Except as required by G.S. 130A-247 through 250, food services at institutions shall not be required to obtain food handling establishment permits. Facilities that the "Rules Governing the Sanitation of Restaurants and Other Food Handling Establishments" are made effective by the rules of this Section that were in operation before March 1, 2003 may continue to use equipment and construction in use on that date if no imminent hazard exists. Points shall not be deducted from the food service sanitation score for existing equipment that is kept clean and performs the task for which it is used. Replacement equipment for these facilities shall comply with 15A NCAC 18A .2600.

Find inspection scores here

Each school is inspected by Catawba County Environmental Health at least once a year. If the conditions found at the time of the inspection of a public school are dangerous to the health of the students, or if an imminent hazard exists, the sanitarian shall notify officials on the local and state level.

Complete rules can be found on the state’s web site.

Schools which receive a score of at least 90 percent shall be classified A; schools which receive a score of at least 80 percent and less than 90 percent shall be classified B; schools which receive a score of at least 70 percent and less than 80 percent shall be classified C; and schools which receive a score of less than 70 percent shall be classified as unapproved. When the school is classified as unapproved, the sanitarian shall provide notification in accordance with Rule .2402(c) or (d) as appropriate. Grade cards shall not be posted in schools.

During the school year, an inspection of the school cafeteria is done quarterly. That means that the cafeteria for the school is inspected four times a school year. School inspection scores can be found here.