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Healthy Environments

Public Health Inspectors investigate health hazards in the community.

Some examples of health hazards are indoor air quality (like mould), outdoor air quality, human or animal waste disposal, bugs and animals that carry disease, garbage, and contact with dangerous chemicals.

For more information call 613-732-3629 extension 505.

Health Canada – Mould

Health Canada – Guide to addressing moisture and mould indoors

Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety – Indoor Air Quality – Moulds and Fungi

Ministry of the Environment Conservation and Parks – Air Quality Health Index


Blue-green algae

Check out our Safe Water section for more information

The septic system is a cheap and efficient way of sewage disposal. But when it is abused or neglected, the septic system can stop working when you need it the most, like during the winter months. A septic system may stop working properly because of a poor location, bad construction, lack of attention, and overloading.

Inspect the tank once a year to see how much sludge and scum is in the tank. When inspecting inside the tank, do not use matches or open flame, as explosive gases may cause injury. Do not place your head into the tank either.

Tanks under normal working conditions should be pumped about once every 3 to 5 years by a licensed sewage disposal company. The build-up of scum on the surface and sludge on the bottom will plug the tank and eventually will plug the leaching bed too.

Government of Ontario: Septic Systems

Government of Ontario: Giant Hogweed

Government of Ontario: Wild Parsnip

Visit our Infections section to learn about Ticks, Lyme Disease and Other Tick-borne diseases.

What is radon?

Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas released when uranium in soil and/or rock breaks down. Radon is invisible, odourless and tasteless. Radon does not tend to be a health issue outdoors, as atmospheric mixing dilutes the gas to low concentrations. However, in a confined space – like a basement – radon can accumulate to elevated levels, which can present a health risk.

Radon exposure

Radon can seep into a building through dirt floors, cracks in foundations or concrete, sump pumps, joints and basement drains. Well water can also contain trapped radon, which may be released into the air when water is drawn.

The air pressure inside your home is usually lower than in the soil surrounding the foundation. This difference in pressure draws air and other gases, including radon, from the soil into your home. Radon levels are generally higher in areas where there is a higher amount of uranium in underlying rock and soil and may be higher in homes that have been made more airtight without also ensuring that the fresh air supply is sufficient.

Radon concentrations vary a great deal across Canada, making it difficult to predict radon levels in any one home or building.

Radon & your health

When a radioactive gas, like radon, is inhaled, it naturally breaks down into radioactive particles that can be trapped in your lungs when you breathe in. This may cause damage to lung tissue, which can develop into lung cancer over the course of a lifetime.

The health risks from radon exposure are long-term and often depend on three things:

  • The level of radon in your home or building
  • The length of time you are exposed to radon
  • Your smoking habits or exposure to second-hand smoke.

Exposure to radon and tobacco use together can significantly increase your risk of lung cancer.

Radon is the #1 cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Exposure to high levels of radon in indoor air results in an increased risk of developing lung cancer. The risk of cancer depends on the level of radon and how long a person is exposed to those levels.

Radon testing

The only way to know if you are being exposed to radon gas is to test for it. Testing for radon is easy and affordable. Health Canada suggests that you use a long-term radon detector for a minimum of three months.

For information on testing for radon in your home click here.

What is the acceptable level of radon in my home?

The  Health Canada guideline for radon in indoor air for dwellings is 200 Becquerels per cubic metre (Bq/m³), or less.

Radon remediation

If your radon test result is above the Canadian guideline of 200 Bq/m3 you should hire a certified radon professional to determine the best and most cost effective way to reduce the radon level in your home.

Click here for more information.


Health Canada – Radon

Health Canada – Take Action on Radon

Health Canada – Testing for Radon 

Health Canada – Find a Radon Professional

Canadian Lung Association – Radon

Government of Ontario – Radon in the workplace


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Pembroke Office

141 Lake Street, Pembroke, Ontario K8A 5L8

Phone: 613-732-3629
Toll Free: 1-800-267-1097
Fax: 613-735-3067

Hours of Operation
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Renfrew Service Hub (By Appointment Only)

120 Plaunt Street South, Renfrew, Ontario, K7V 1M5

Services offered by appointment only.

If you require an alternative accessible format or assistance accessing information on this page, please contact us at or 613-732-3629.