title:environmental safety

Environmental health is the science and practice of preventing human injury and illness and promoting well-being by:

• Identifying and evaluating environmental sources and hazardous agents and

• Limiting exposures to hazardous physical, chemical, and biological agents in air, water, soil, food, and other environmental media or settings that may adversely affect human health.

As a fundamental component of a comprehensive public health system, environmental health works to advance policies and programs to reduce chemical and other environmental exposures in air, water, soil and food to protect residents and provide communities with healthier environments.


• Investigation of food poisoning outbreaks

• Investigations concerning elevated blood lead levels in children

• Investigation of food poisoning outbreaks

• Investigation of mosquito, rat, and other public health nuisance complaints

• Animal bite investigations

• Technical assistance and emergency water sampling and testing

• Emergency Preparedness

Permitting, inspection and grading of all food and lodging businesses are currently conducted by the County Health Department in which your regulated business resides.

Businesses that are regulated include:

• Restaurants

• Motels/hotels

• Campgrounds

• Food stands

• Swimming pools

• Tattoo parlors


Well inspections and well permitting will be conducted by environmental health staff from the Tribal Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) to ensure compliance with existing well construction standards. Properly constructed wells reduce the chances of groundwater contamination from surface contaminants. Contact DANR at: 828-359-6119/6146.

Learn about private water wells

The Tribal Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) is responsible for septic permitting on Tribal lands. Correctly installed septic systems protect public health by preventing groundwater contamination resulting from improperly treated wastewater and sewage discharges to the surface of the ground. Any person owning or controlling a residence, place of business, or place of public assembly which is not served by a public sewer must obtain a septic permit prior to obtaining any building permits or initiating construction. Sites proposed for development are evaluated for suitability of septic systems in accordance with current North Carolina sewage disposal laws and rules under the authority of the DANR. Contact DANR at: 828-359-6119/6146.

How Your Septic System Works

The Qualla Boundary is known to have frequent floods. These can happen at a moments notice. Flooding and standing water can expose the public to infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries both during and after a weather event. When addressing the impacts of flooding, residents and businesses should be aware of steps that we can all take to reduce injury and illness due to flooding. Proper assessment of wells and septic systems as well as cleaning and moisture removal remain key to eliminating threats to the public’s health.

Please reference 'What to Do After the Flood' by the EPA to learn more about considerations for well and pump safety after a flood event. Businesses are encouraged to review the NC State’s Environmental Health Preparedness Manual to learn more about safety for your organization before, during, and after a flood event.

Swain County Health Department
Jackson County Health Department
Graham County Health Department
Cherokee County Health Department
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention

environmental safety building exterior

43 John Crowe Hill Rd.
P.O. Box 666
Cherokee, NC 28719

Dwayne Reed, MPH
828-359-0200 (fax)

Inspections Contacts
Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources

Gary Sneed

Lehmann Bradley

Monday - Friday
7:45 am - 4:30 pm

Report Abuse
Do you suspect abuse? To make an adult or child protective services report any time day or night, call the numbers below.

Child Abuse
Adult Abuse