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Additional Information About Our Inspections

Please see the attached fact sheet for information about our inspections during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Staff inspect mechanical household sewage treatment systems yearly and non-mechanical systems every five years. Water quality technicians determine system location, check for proper system maintenance and operation, and provide helpful information to system owners.  Staff also help home buyers avoid unforeseen repair or replacement costs by offering a voluntary septic system inspection service prior to the purchase of a home.

Click here to find a STS Service Provider or Hauler

Routine Inspection Program

Hamilton County Public Health began an operational permit program of household sewage treatment systems (septic systems) in 1994. The permit program began with the inspection of aerobic treatment units and was expanded in 1996 to include all household sewage treatment systems located within the jurisdiction of the Health District (mechanical and non-mechanical).

Each year, Health District Environmental Health Specialists inspect approximately 14,000 new and existing septic systems in Hamilton County.

Sewage Treatment System Inspection Results Online

Anyone is now able to view the results of sewage treatment system (STS) inspections performed by the Health District (Hamilton County, excluding the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood, and Springdale).  Please note that inspection results are updated weekly and show the most current inspection at that time of the last update.

To view the inspection results, use the map below to search for a property address.  Once a property is displayed, click on the red, green, black or yellow “points” to view the information about the sewage treatment system.

View map here.

It is important to understand, that inspection information provided here shows only the conditions of the sewage treatment system at the time of the inspection.   Although a single inspection can reveal a system that has passed inspection, the system’s inspection history (number of approvals and disapprovals) can give a more accurate picture of a sewage treatment systems performance over time.


This inspection report is based on current sewage treatment system conditions at the time of inspection. An approved inspection report and/or operation permit does not guarantee that the sewage treatment system meets today’s water quality effluent standards, has an approved discharge location, that it will continue to operate in a satisfactory manner, or that changes to the home, structure or property will allow this system to be permitted in the future.

What systems are inspected?

All household sewage treatment systems with mechanical components (aeration) are inspected yearly; systems without mechanical components (non-mechanical) are inspected once every fifty-eight (58) months. During the inspection, staff determine system location, check for proper system maintenance and operation, and provide helpful information to system owners.

How inspections are conducted

Health District staff will either knock on your door or ring your doorbell prior to inspecting your system. If you do not respond, a green door hanger will be placed on your door. This door hanger identifies the reason for the inspection, date and time of inspection, and the name and phone number of the inspector. Staff will then proceed with inspecting your household sewage treatment system.

Identifying Hamilton County Public Health Staff

Staff typically wear polo shirts or other shirts or jackets which are marked with the Health District’s logo. In addition, all staff carry picture identification badges.




Once the inspection is finished and paper work is completed, a copy of the inspection report and invoice will be mailed to you. You will be asked to pay your fee within 30 days, at which time your permit will be issued if your system has been approved. For more information call (513) 946-7863.

Real Estate Transfer Inspections

Go here to learn about Real Estate Transfer Inspections. To request an inspection, click here, or call Water Quality staff at 513-946-7966.

Contacting Inspectors

Non-mechanical Household Sewage Treatment System Inspections:

  • (513) 946-7864

Mechanical Household Sewage Treatment Systems (Aerobic):

  • (513) 946-7869
  • (513) 946-7846
  • (513) 946-7965

Hamilton County residents are now able to view inspection reports from licensed food service operators and retail food establishments inspected by the Health District (Hamilton County, excluding the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood, and Springdale).

Digital inspection reports not only help Environmental Health Specialists complete their work more efficiently, they also give residents an inside look at what a public health Environmental Health Specialist sees during an inspection. It is important to understand, however, that inspection information provided here shows only the conditions of the facility at the time of the inspection. A single inspection report should not be used to evaluate a food service establishment. Looking at a facility’s inspection results over a period of time gives a more accurate picture of that facility’s commitment to food safety and sanitation.

What information will I find on an inspection report?
Both critical and non-critical violations are shown on inspection reports. The corresponding food code and recommended corrective actions are listed with each violation so residents understand what is required to correct the problem. This information will help residents better understand Ohio’s Uniform Food Safety Code and what is done locally to enforce it.

What are common problems found on an inspection?
Many problems found during an inspection are non-critical, do not pose an immediate public health threat and can be corrected while the Environmental Health Specialist is on site. Non-critical violations, including dirty floors, lack of hair restraints and open waste receptacles, are noted on the inspection report.

Critical violations are more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness or an environmental health hazard. Examples include food obtained from an unsafe source, inadequate cooking, improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene. Critical violations may require additional follow up from the Environmental Health Specialist to ensure the problems are corrected properly. Critical violations are noted on the inspection report, along with corrective action steps.

In rare occasions, it may be necessary to close a restaurant or other food service operator due to an imminent health hazard. An imminent health hazard may exist because of an emergency such as a fire, flood, extended interruption of electrical or water service, sewage backup, misuse of poisonous or toxic materials, the onset of an apparent food borne illness outbreak, a gross unsanitary occurrence or condition, or other circumstance that may endanger public health.



Depending on the type of facility, inspections occur unannounced, one to two times per year, not including follow-up inspections. A Environmental Health Specialist may also choose to conduct additional inspections throughout the course of the year if he/she feels the facility needs extra guidance/monitoring.

Environmental Health Specialists inspect restaurants and food establishments for compliance with Ohio’s Uniform Food Safety Code, including proper food storage, handling, preparation and serving. Food Code violations are broken down into two categories: critical and non-critical.

  • Critical violations are items that, if in noncompliance, are more likely than other violations to contribute to food contamination, illness or an environmental health hazard. Examples of critical violations include food obtained from an unsafe source, inadequate cooking, improper holding, contaminated equipment, and poor personal hygiene.
  • Non-critical violations cover such things as dirty floors, lack of hair restraints, and open waste receptacles.

Health District staff have always practiced education over enforcement. In addition to required inspections, the Health District offers food safety training for licensed food service operators and retail food establishments to ensure that food service staff understand and follow proper food handling procedures.


Nuisances and Complaints

If you encounter a problem or have a concern while visiting a retail food establishment or food service operator, tell the manager and ask that it be corrected. If you are not satisfied with the response, or if you have a suspected food borne illness to report, contact our office immediately at (513) 946-7800 or online by clicking here. All complaints will be investigated.

Please note that the Health District only accepts complaints from facilities located within Hamilton County (excluding the cities of Cincinnati, Norwood and Springdale).


Foodborne Illness Outbreaks

Environmental Health Specialists also investigate potential foodborne illness outbreaks within the Health District’s jurisdiction. The goal of investigation is to determine the source of the disease and how it is being spread. In turn, this information allows public health officials to provide the public with precautions and/or effectively eliminate the source of an outbreak. The investigation process includes:

  • confirming the diagnosis
  • verifying the disease
  • locating affected persons and providing them with information about the disease
  • looking for potential common modes of transmission among affected persons
  • confirming the original source of the disease
  • providing the public with information about the disease, along with prevention measures


Additional Resources

The safety of public swimming pools in Hamilton County is a priority for Environmental Health Specialists in Hamilton County Public Health’s Environmental Health Division. A licensing, inspection and education program helps ensure the safety of Hamilton County swimmers whether they’re enjoying a public pool or playing in their own backyard. View the latest Inspection Reports.


Licensing and Inspections

Each year, Hamilton County Public Health issues licenses for more than 380 public swimming pools, including municipal pools, swim clubs, and pools at hotels, spas, and apartment or condo complexes.

Licensing renewals now available online

Required fees:

  • Individual Public Swimming Pool, Spas, and Special Use Pools  $352.00
    • State Fee $80.00
  • Additional Public Swimming Pool, Spas, and Special Use Pools $235.00
    • State Fee $55.00

To ensure the safety of swimmers and prevent the spread of waterborne illnesses, an extensive pre-operational inspection is conducted each year prior to the start of pool season and additional inspections are conducted throughout the remainder of the year. Hamilton County Public Health pool inspections:

  • Ensure the safety of swimmers (especially children) from drowning, falls and injuries.
  • Control and prevent transmission of waterborne diseases to swimmers through assurance of sanitizer concentrations (chlorine or bromine) and balanced pool chemistry (pH and alkalinity levels).
  • Educate swimmers and pool staff about safety and hygiene practices in pool settings.

During inspections, Environmental Health Specialists check:

  • chemistry and water clarity
  • safety equipment
  • depth markers
  • turn-over rates
  • records
  • emergency phone and security fence
  • secure main drain gates
  • diving boards and life guards
  • restrictive access/self closing, self latching gate


Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Law

This new law is aimed at reducing the 260 pool and spa drownings each year involving children younger than 5 and suction entrapment deaths and injuries, by making pools and spas safer, securing the environment around them, and educating consumers and industry on pool safety.

The law specifies that by December 19, 2008, swimming pool and spa drain covers available for purchase in the U.S. MUST meet specific requirements. Additionally, public swimming pools, wading pools, spas and hot tubs MUST meet requirements for installation of compliant drain covers. In certain instances, public pools and spas MUST have additional devices or systems designed to prevent suction entrapment.

Information from Ohio Department of Health