VAN WERT — A nuisance has many definitions. A few examples include:
- “One that is annoying, unpleasant, or obnoxious” from Merriam-Webster
- “The unreasonable, unwarranted and/or unlawful use of property, which causes inconvenience or damage to others, either to individuals and/or to the general public” from Law.com Legal Dictionary
- “(Law) A use of one’s property that causes danger or annoyance to others or that interferes with others using or enjoying their own property and that is subject to civil action” from Webster’s New World College Dictionary
The Van Wert County General Health District is required to investigate nuisance conditions in the county under the authority of Ohio Revised Code 3709.21. This code states the health department’s responsibility when it comes to protecting the public’s health from nuisances. Nuisance reports can be made to the health department by email, telephone, or in person. Examples of nuisances investigated within the county include large amounts of solid waste (trash), rodents and pests outside of a home, large amounts of animals causing an extreme smell, and sewage back-ups.
The health department uses different regulations than those used for code enforcement inside Van Wert City. When a nuisance is reported to the health department and that nuisance is within the Van Wert City limits, the health department will refer it to the city unless it does not fall under the scope of the city code ordinance.
The most common nuisance investigated is a solid waste or trash nuisance. Solid waste nuisances can be avoided by having a regular trash pick-up or hauling to a licensed landfill or transfer station regularly, and by storing solid waste in a closed container. Ohio EPA regulations do not allow for the burning or burying of ANY solid waste. The health department does not have any authority over the condition of the inside of a home. Indoor housing conditions including mold, structural or electrical issues, and general home conditions related to landlord/tenant situations are not able to be investigated by the health department. The only time the health department can get involved with the indoor conditions of a home is when the conditions are affecting the public outside of that home. For example, the home has a large amount of solid waste, or a large number of animals and the conditions are creating an odor strong enough to be noticeable outside of the home. Another example is when a home has an infestation of rodents or pests and those rodents or pests are observed in other homes.
For questions or concerns related to nuisances, please contact Britt Menchhofer, Environmental Health Director at 418-238-0808 extension 105.