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From the cotton fields of Southampton County to the shores of the James River and the brink of Hampton Roads Harbor, Western Tidewater encompasses the diversity of simpler times as well as the fast lane of a high speed world. So whether you want to share a plate of collard greens and Smithfield Ham or savor broiled rockfish while catching the salt breeze at the mouth of the Nansemond our cuisines are as unique as our people.

The Western Tidewater Health District (WTHD) serves four localities which include the counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton and the cities of Suffolk and Franklin. Interestingly, the City of Suffolk is the largest land area city in Virginia at 429 square miles and the City of Franklin is one of the smallest at 8.75 square miles. WTHD serves a population of approximately 150,000.

The Environmental Health Staff includes 10 Environmental Health Specialists, 2 Supervisors, 1 Manager, and 4 Administrative Support Staff in 4 offices. Major Environmental Programs include Food Safety, Onsite Sewage Disposal and Water Wells and Rabies Investigation. As part of these programs we inspect food establishments, temporary food events and tourist establishments (hotels, motels, inns and bed and breakfast facilities. We also inspect summer camps, campgrounds, migrant labor camps and body art establishments. Environmental Health (EH) processes applications of and provides permits and inspections of private wells, conventional septic systems, and alternative sewage systems. Other important programs areas include investigations of environmental sources of lead (for children age 6 or less with elevated blood lead levels), potential foodborne related outbreaks, rabies prevention and general environmental complaint investigations. Our staff also provides information and education regarding other environmental health risks. Some of the health education topics include tick-borne diseases bedbugs and mosquito-borne diseases such as Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile Virus. The EH Department works with many other agencies to protect and promote the health of residents and visitors.

Annually Environmental Health staff reviews and inspects:

  • Over 400 permitted Food Establishments (such as restaurants, schools, daycare facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, mobile food trucks, etc.) which are inspected at least twice annually
  • 30 Tourist Establishments (hotel, motel, inn or bed and breakfast) which are inspected at least once every year.
  • Camps and Summer camps which are inspected annually
  • 25-30 Swimming pools
  • 20-30 Migrant labor camps
  • 275-300 Onsite Sewage Applications
  • 225-250 Private Well Applications