Environmental Health staff respond to emergencies related to food facilities, such as the outbreak of foodborne illnesses, sewage overflows, water line breaks and electrical power outages. Staff make site inspections and conduct thorough food facility inspections to determine the level of damage and contamination sustained due to an emergency. The staff may take food and water samples that are analyzed to identify foodborne illness-related contaminations. Based on their determination, they advise the operator to remove or discard any contaminated and damaged food and food-related items that are not fit for human consumption. The facility will be closed until violations are satisfactorily corrected if there is sufficient danger to the public. In addition, employees of the facility may be required to complete food safety and sanitation training sessions.
Environmental Health staff also respond to sewage spills and overflow complaints that may affect storm drains and run-off into recreational waters such as creeks, Aquatic Park Lagoon and Berkeley Marina. They prepare, post and maintain signs that notify the community of possible contaminations and instruct the public to keep children and pets out of water until the contamination has subsided. Staff take water samples and have them analyzed for bacterial contamination, when feasible. They also coordinate sewage spill activities locally and notify other agencies that may be affected by the sewage spills.