The Lenowisco Health District (LHD) is located in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of far southwest Virginia, extending east from the Cumberland Gap, and bordering Kentucky and Tennessee. Much of our district is closer to at least seven other state capitals than to Richmond. LHD serves the three counties of Lee, Wise and Scott, and the independent city of Norton. The District office is located in the Town of Wise, in Wise County.
LHD serves a population of approximately 92,000. Much of the population has historically been directly or indirectly dependent on coal mining. The region is known for its coal industry and music heritage as well as the abundance of outdoor activities tied to the local rivers, the Washington/Jefferson National Forest, Natural Tunnel State Park, and Wilderness Road State Park among other outdoor attractions. The area also boasts the Southwest Virginia Museum, the Trail of the Lonesome Pine outdoor drama, and the Carter Family Fold entertainment venue and the home of June Carter Cash and the Carter family, to name a few destinations. In addition, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise continues to expand, attracting students from across Virginia and beyond.
The Environmental Health Staff includes five Environmental Health Specialists, one Environmental Health Technical Specialist, and one Environmental Health Manager in three offices. We enforce regulations that govern food establishments, sewage handling and disposal, alternative onsite sewage systems, alternative sewage discharging systems, private wells, hotels, campgrounds, summer camps, migrant labor camps, and swimming pools associated with tourist establishments, and swimming pool postings. Additionally, we implement rabies control measures, investigate environmental sources of lead (for children age six or less with elevated blood lead levels), assist with foodborne related outbreak investigations, investigate environmental health complaints, and provide information and education regarding other environmental risks to health such as tick-borne disease, bedbugs, and mosquito control. The EH staff work closely with our district public health team including PH nurses, district epidemiologist and director, as well as permitted facilities, other governmental agencies, and citizen groups to protect and promote the health of residents and visitors. Each of our staff conducts duties within all EH program areas with the exception of our Environmental Health Technical Specialist, whose duties center on the food program and general environmental health programs.
Listed below are inspections required by regulation or through agreements:
- Over 300 permitted food establishments which are inspected at a rate dependent on their risk category and minimally, twice per year
- Approximately 150 alternative discharging sewage systems are inspected annually
- Sewage disposal systems and wells are inspected at the time of installation
- Seventeen tourist establishments are inspected at least annually
- Eleven campgrounds are inspected annually
- Three summer camps are inspected annually
- Seventeen swimming pools are inspected for posting at least twice per year
- Three migrant labor camps are inspected annually
- One annual regional jail inspection
- Approximately 25 courtesy inspections annually for facilities with a permit from Social Services (child care and adult care facilities)