Health Division Frequently Asked Questions
Who can I call about smoking in my workplace?
You can call the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s tobacco control center at 1-800-992-1895 and leave an anonymous message. An inspection will be conducted at the workplace and follow-up enforcement will occur if necessary..
I am concerned that youth may be purchasing tobacco at a store. Who can I call?
You can leave an anonymous message with the Andover Health Department at 978-623-8640 and a staff member will visit the store and investigate the matter.
How do I get a copy of where my septic system is located on my property?
Depending on the age of the system, the Health Division may have an “asbuilt” plan of the system, which provides measurements to system components based on fixed landmarks such as a house foundation. Call or email the office, providing your home address and we will check our records.
I need a Title 5 Inspector; how do I find one?
Title 5 Inspectors are licensed by the state. The company that pumps your septic tank may have someone on staff who can do the work, or they will refer you to someone they trust. For a state-wide listing of inspectors, visit the state’s listing here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/wastewater/approved-soil-evaluators-and-system-inspectors.html
How long is my Title 5 Inspection good for?
The inspections are good for a 2 year period, starting with the date of the inspection. If the tank is pumped each year following the inspection, then the length of time increases to 3 years. For example, if your system is inspected in June of 2013, have the tank pumped in June of 2014 and June of 2015; the inspection will be good until June, 2016.
My septic system failed the Title 5 Inspection; what do I do now?
If you have sewer available, you will need to connect to it; contact someone licensed as a Drainlayer by the town to do that work for you. The Health Division maintains a list of drainlayers; because it is always changing, contact us for the latest version.
You will need to contact a private engineer or engineering firm to design a new septic system, and they will guide you through the process. Your pumper may have someone to recommend, or speak to your friends who have had the work done before and can provide a reference. The Health Division also maintains a mailing list of engineers who desire to work in Andover (we do not license or approve them); we recommend that you obtain at least three price estimates.
How do I connect to the municipal sewer system?
The Health Division handles all of the permitting for sewer connections, while the Engineering Division maintains the records for sewer stubs. First, contact some Licensed Drainlayers for prices; the Health Division maintains a list of drainlayers which can be obtained from us.
Do I need an engineer to design my sewer connection?
If you are building a new structure, or if you require a pump to get the wastewater from your basement to the sewer stub, then an engineered drawing is required. If you have an existing building that can use gravity to get wastes to the sewer line, then no plans are required.
How can I obtain the sewer regulations and related specifications?
This link will take you to that information: http://andoverma.gov/boards/health/sewer.php
I am thinking about opening a restaurant; how do I go about it?
First, a restaurant owner must be knowledgeable of the state and federal codes concerning food safety. The codes require that certain certifications are held, including Certification as a Food Safety Manager and Allergen Awareness. The health codes can be accessed here: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/environmental-health/food-safety/public-health-regulations-food-safety.html (Look under the “Retail” heading).
The Town also offers a guide on doing business in Andover, which can be accessed here: http://andoverma.gov/publish/businessguide.pdf. Contact our office for an appointment, and we will be glad to meet with you. We recommend that you not sign a lease agreement until you have spoken with us, to ensure that you know all of the challenges involved in any particular location.
I want to start catering out of my home; how do I go about becoming licensed?
Catering from your home is not allowed; state regulations require that caterers work out of a licensed food service establishment.
I want to open a home based business that involves food sales; what do I need to be concerned about?
Operating out of your home where food service is concerned is allowed for very limited products. Only non-potentially hazardous foods can be produced in your home kitchen, under certain regulations. Foods allowed could include candy and baked goods (without custards); foods not allowed include meat and dairy products. To access the state regulations, click here: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/regs/105cmr590.pdf
Do I need a permit to prepare and/or sell food products at a non-profit fundraising event?
Generally speaking, yes. Some foods and programs are exempt from the permitting requirements, so call the office to discuss the project at least two weeks in advance.
Our non-profit would like to host a chili cook-off; how do we go about it?
State guidelines and regulations do not allow for home made chili to be served in these contests because they have a great potential for making people ill. Many people cook their chili ahead of time, and do not maintain proper temperature control in the process. A cook-off could happen under certain conditions, such as the chili being prepared in an already licensed food establishment, or the chili being prepared in a central site under strict guidelines. Contact the Health Division for discussion before planning a program.
What are the requirements if I want to set up a mobile food cart?
For detailed requirements, visit the state regulations here: http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/regs/105cmr590.pdf. In general, mobile carts must begin and end the day at a licensed food establishment, and hand washing stations and wastewater disposal will need to be addressed. Depending on your plans, you may need a hawkers and Peddlers License from the state, and a special permit from the local Police Department (for ice cream vendors). DO NOT purchase a cart until it has been reviewed and approved by the Health Division first.
How do I dispose of unwanted needles or syringes?
State law prohibits disposal of “sharps” (lancets, needles, etc. used to puncture the skin) in household trash. The Town has drop off kiosks at the Center at Punchard (the Senior Center) and the Public Safety Building. All sharps must be in a puncture proof, sealed container before being placed into the kiosk. Click here for more information: http://andoverma.gov/health/sharpsdisposal.pdf
How do I dispose of old medications?
There is a drug collection kiosk at the Andover Public Safety Center where you can place pills. Liquids can be placed into your trash or mixed with an absorbent and then placed into your trash; since our rubbish is sent to an incinerator, this is a safe disposal method.
How do I dispose of household batteries?
Most household batteries are alkaline and can be put into the trash, but some require special handling as follows:
- Button Cell Batteries – Hearing aids, watches, etc… can be deposited in specially marked containers at Town Offices, Water Treatment Plant, and other areas of town.
- Rechargeable Batteries – Flash light, cell phone, laptop, tool batteries can be dropped off at the Health Division Office or at the Water Treatment Plant.
- Car Batteries – These dry cell batteries are not accepted by the Town; they can be dropped off at any local car repair establishment.
I have an old mercury thermometer to dispose of; how can I do that?
Anything containing mercury (thermostats, thermometers, mercury switches) can be delivered to the Health Division Office or at the Water Treatment Plant. Florescent light bulbs are not accepted. The Health Division has digital thermometers to exchange for mercury ones.
How do I dispose of florescent light bulbs?
Whole Foods has a drop off location for compact florescent bulbs. Check with local hardware stores for available drop off facilities.
My trash wasn’t picked up this week.
The Department of Public Works handles trash disposal; please call 978-623-8700.
How do I get rid of special wastes not addressed here?
Follow this link to the DPW’s Trash Collection Guide: http://andoverma.gov/publish/recbrochure.pdf