Environmental Health

Public Health Nuisances

The Wright County Public Health Nuisance Ordinance exists to protect the health, safety, and general welfare of the people of Wright County. Wright County Public Health is available to answer questions, provide resources, investigate public health nuisance complaints, and (when necessary) take appropriate action to remove the public health nuisance.

What is a public health nuisance?

A public health nuisance is defined by Minnesota law as any activity or failure to act that adversely affects public health. 

Examples that could result in a public health nuisance citation:

  • Improperly stored solid waste, such as rotting garbage or dead animals
  • Insect or rodent infestations
  • Evidence of a meth lab or other clandestine drug manufacturing
  • Unsafe living situations (lack of sewage disposal or garbage house) that affect children and vulnerable adults

Please note: Clutter or general poor housekeeping is not considered a public health nuisance. Accumulations of clothing, household goods, magazines or other examples of hoarding behavior are not necessarily a public health nuisance.

 What is the difference between a public health nuisance and a public nuisance?

A public health nuisance is generally related to conditions that may affect one's health or cause a disease, whereas public nuisances tend to be non-health related conditions.

 Examples of public nuisances include:

  • Excessive noise
  • Open wells
  • Animal control issues
  • Long grass
  • Leaking roof in a rental property, etc.

For questions or to file a public health nuisance complaint, please call our office at (763) 684-8508.

Radon

The U.S. Surgeon General, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recommend that every Minnesota home be tested for radon. Wright County Public Health offers radon test kits at a reduced price for residents for $5. With each test kit comes useful information about radon, its effects, and how to best protect your family's health.

Options to purchase a Radon Test Kit:

  • Call (763) 682-8931
  • Stop in at Wright County Health & Human Services
    1004 Commercial Drive, Buffalo, MN 55313
    Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm
  • Visit a Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Program site

For more information on Radon:

Lead

Protecting children from exposure to lead is important to lifelong good health. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. Effects of lead exposure cannot be corrected. The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.

Wright County Public Health can assist individuals and families in identifying possible sources of lead exposure, provide resources, and conduct capillary blood lead testing (tests the blood lead level with a finger prick). To learn more about lead or to schedule your blood lead level test, please call (763) 682-7516.

Minnesota Department of Health - Lead

Mold

Mold can cause fungal allergy and respiratory infections or worsen certain illnesses such as asthma. Molds are microorganisms that are found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. The potential health effects of exposure to indoor mold are of increasing concern. Nevertheless, no conclusive evidence exists that inhalation of indoor mold is associated with a multitude of other health problems, such as pulmonary hemorrhage, memory loss, and lack of energy.

Controlling moisture in your home is the best way to prevent mold problems. Try to maintain your home’s relative humidity between 20-40% in the winter and less than 60% the rest of the year.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) does not recommend mold testing for several reasons: 1) Proper mold testing is expensive. If you can see or smell mold in your home, you know you have a mold problem. There are several ways to test for mold, and each test has different advantages. In order to get a good idea of a mold problem, several types of tests are needed. It is usually better to use the money you would spend on testing to solve the moisture issues and clean up mold; 2) There is no health-based standard for mold levels in air. Everyone reacts differently to mold, and there is not enough research available to determine how much mold is “safe;” 3) Any mold growing inside is a problem; it does not matter what specific type of mold is present. MDH recommends that you consider any type of mold growing indoors a potential health hazard. It doesn’t matter if it is black, red, or green, any mold indoors is a problem.

For resources on mold and moisture, please visit the Minnesota Department of Health Indoor Air Unit website.

For questions, please call our office at (763) 684-8508.

Well Water Testing

Private domestic well water testing kits (for coliform bacteria and nitrate-nitrogen) are available for pick-up at the following locations:

  • Planning & Zoning Office (10 2nd St NW, Buffalo, MN 55313) Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm
  • Any Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Program site
  • Health & Human Services Building (1004 Commercial Dr, Buffalo, MN 55313) Mon-Fri 8am-4:30pm

The cost of the private domestic well water test is $25.00 (due at the time of water sample drop off). Water samples must be dropped off at the Planning & Zoning Office on either Monday or Tuesday 8am-4:30pm. Test results will typically be received by mail before the following weekend.

Healthy Homes

The Wright County Healthy Homes program is a voluntary service that offers free guidance and education on reducing environmental hazards in the home.  Trained staff members work with residents to help address potential areas of concern such as mold, exposure to toxins, asthma triggers, indoor air pollution, lead, and other housing-related health risks.  Healthy Homes Referral