Environmental Health

DEH and Sanctuary Forest produce the 2021 Water Efficiency Workshop 

On Sept. 28, 2021, DEH and the Humboldt County Drought Task Force held a Zoom-based 2021 Water Efficiency Workshop featuring Tasha McKee and April Newlander of Sanctuary Forest. McKee talked about water conservation, river protection successes through educational efforts, developing partnerships with community members and facilitating forbearance for those living and working in the Mattole River watershed. She shared a Power Point presentation, PDF available here.

County Chief Building Official Keith Ingersoll and DEH Senior Environmental Health Specialist Joey Whittlesey also participated. Ingersoll and Whittlesey described water saving permit programs available through the county including: Rainwater catchment, storage tanks, greywater systems and waterless toilet systems. View a recording of the meeting here (Youtube).

Drought Raises Public Health Concerns

Under drought conditions, groundwater supplies and reduced stream flows increase the concentration of pollutants in water and cause stagnation and elevated water temperatures. Warmer waters increase the growth of some pathogens and harmful algal blooms, leading to reduced oxygen levels that threaten aquatic life and can be harmful to animals and people. As a result, drinking water supplied from private wells and surface water diversions may be at higher risk for drought-related infectious disease.

As drought conditions persist, some water supply sources may experience diminished production or may fail to produce altogether. Any residents using private water supplies and experiencing water shortages are encouraged to use the California Department of Water Resources’ reporting tool: mydrywatersupply.water.ca.gov/report. DEH staff can assist in submitting this report on behalf of those with limited internet accessibility. If you are currently experiencing an emergency water shortage or your domestic water supply has gone dry, contact DEH immediately for guidance in servicing or replacing the impacted source.

COVID-19: Safety and Other Information for Operators

Our Role

The Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health plays a critical role in disease prevention. Safe drinking water, pollution, proper sewage disposal, foodborne illness outbreaks, childhood lead poisoning, hazardous materials spills and solid /hazardous waste management can present challenges to our communities.


The goal of Environmental Health is to protect the health, safety and well-being of the public, and to preserve and improve the quality of the environment.

Environmental Health Programs

Brief History

Early in the 20th century, infections associated with overcrowding, poor housing and contaminated water resulted in transmission of tuberculosis, diphtheria, typhoid fever, and dysentery.

Improvements in housing, public water supplies - including chlorination and filtration, and waste-disposal systems have resulted in great progress in disease control. While the impact of these diseases has been reduced, the need for prevention remains as strong as ever.
Historic Image