Environmental Health

Regional Collection Center Satellite Site

Calhoun county was awarded a grant by the DNR to set up a satellite collection center for household hazardous wastes. The site will help county residents manage their unusable household waste such as herbicides, cleaning agents, button batteries and much more. You can read the Metro Waste Authority's website to learn what wastes are accepted and other ways to mange them besides disposal through the satellite site. The waste site closes for the winter around Nov. 1 and opens again around April 1. You must have an appointment to bring in wastes. Please call 712-297-8323  with a list of materials you want to bring in and to make an appointment.

For more information "green" household cleaners and other supplies, please visit this site. There is also a list of the hazards and ingredients in many "green" products and some of hidden dangers. Did you know that many cleaners are not required to list the ingredients? To find out why some products are more dangerous than they appear, check out this site!

We are now able to take business waste. The business must qualify as a VSQG (very small quantity generator). For more information and to see if your business qualifies, visit the Metro Waste Authorities website. Click here to see the materials that must be submitted. Once qualified, call us to make your appointment. Fees apply.

Farm chemicals are considered business waste and there is a charge for bringing them in for disposal. Contact us for more information and to register. Fee is around $1.94 per lb. You may also contact chemical suppliers as many have a take back program and they will handle disposal. A business account will need to be set up prior to bringing in waste. Contact Art Kern at 515-967-5512.

Old Medications. Medication disposal practices commonly used today compromise the integrity of water supplies. Unused and expired drugs pile up in home medicine cabinets, which increase the likelihood for teenagers, elderly, pets, or others to misuse or abuse them. Please consult your pharmacy for the best disposal method for the medication type you have or use this website  https://www.iarx.org/meddisposal. You can access a map for locations to drop off old medications.  We also have a limited number of disposal bags to neutralize meds for disposal in the regular garbage. 

For information on the ways to dispose of unwanted electronics, appliances, tires etc., click here.

Water Testing/ Well Closure Assistance

The Iowa Department of Public Health gives grants to Iowa counties for free well water testing and well closure cost sharing to County residents. The tests that are paid for include bacteria, nitrates, manganese and arsenic, as well as arsenic speciation. Additional testing is available for the applicable lab fee. Eligible residents may also receive cost share on well rehabilitation for qualifying wells.  A water sample must be collected prior to rehabilitation to ensure a well qualifies. Cost share of up to $1000 is available.

NEW! Homeowners may also qualify for cost sharing on well assessments and shock chlorination of contaminated wells. This work must be done by a certified well contractor. A list of those as well as well as information on private wells can be found on the DNR website here.  

State code requires abandoned wells be closed within 90 days of abandonment. Wells designated as a reserve well must be deemed safe and not allow any contamination of the groundwater. Grants to counties will pay up to $500 towards costs of a well plug.  Cisterns being filled qualify for a $300 cost share. Contact us for details of this program.

All applications for grant funds must be turned in on approved state forms along with a copy of a paid invoice and all state regulations must have been followed. 

More information on wells maintenance can be found on the National Groundwater Associations website. Activities and experiments for kids can be found here.

Click here for information on well flooding and care.
Consumer information booklet on private water wells
Well Plugging Record Form
Well Rehabilitation Form

Other information:
Succesfully Plugging your Well
Guidelines for Plugging a Well


New well permits and septic system permits are issued to residents as per the state codes of Iowa. Fees are dependent on service.  The State code guidelines must be met for distances and designs of each device.  Zoning permits are issued for new residential construction in rural areas of Calhoun County through the Zoning Office.

For septic system code information, septic pumper listings, low interest loan information, and other septic related information, visit the IDNR Website.

Septic permit application
Private Wastewater Treatment Information
New well construction permit application

Animal Control

All incidents of animal bites are recorded and investigated whether they involve domesticated or wild animals. All bites should be reported immediately to this department for follow-up. Keeping your pet up to date with rabies vaccination will save alot of time and money should it be involved in a bite. It is also state law that dogs and cats be vaccinated for rabies. Please call this office following an animal bite to ensure the proper protocol is followed. For detailed exposure information visit this website.

This department also runs the Calhoun County Canine Shelter and houses stray and lost dogs. Check out their web site for available animals. Call 712-297-8323  for more information about adoptable dogs or to claim a dog found at large. Click here to download an application. 

 Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

This program is aimed at reducing the incidence of childhood blood lead poisoning.  All families with children found to be lead poisoned already will receive free services to find the source of the lead and will be instructed on safe remediation procedures. Others interested in preventing lead poisoning or who need information on safe paint removal practices can also receive information from this office.  

All food establishments, including schools, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, tanning facilities, septic tank pumpers, swimming pools and tattoo establishments are inspected annually for compliance with State Code for food safety and hygienic practices. Any complaints or concerns about Calhoun County food establishments or motels should be directed to the Buena Vista County Env. Health Office, as well as possible incidents of food-borne illnesses or submitted to Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) at their website. All inspections done in the state of Iowa are available to view here. All other inspections can be handled through this office. Call 712-297-8323  for more information.

Buena Vista County can be contacted at:
Ben Muggenberg
Buena Vista County
Environmental Health/ Zoning
P.O. Box 301
Storm Lake, IA 50588

Indoor Air Quality/ Nuisances

This program focuses on education and remediation of public health nuisances, radon, carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke and mold. Radon is a radioactive gas that is a leading contributor to lung cancer rates in Iowa.  Radon test kits are offered to residents at little cost. For more information on radon and its health effects, visit here.

  • Public health nuisances are things like cockroach or rodent infestations, toxic or dangerous odors, gases, or wastes, and other nuisances hazardous to the public health.
  • Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that is odorless and colorless. It is easily detected with a test kit or alarm.
  • Molds are simple, microscopic organisms, found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors. When molds are present in large quantities, they can cause allergic symptoms similar to those caused by plant pollen.
  • Tobacco smoke presents health hazards, not only to smokers but to those who breathe it second hand. There is no safe level of exposure to tobacco smoke.

Visit the Iowa Dept. of Public Health's Bureau of Environmental Health Services website for information the programs provided and supervised by the state.

Who is eligible?
All residents within boundaries of Calhoun County. 

What is the fee?

  1. No charge for consultation or grant-funded services.  Participants may be asked to share costs for test kit supplies or labor intensive projects. Permit fees apply for wells and septic systems.
  2. Adoption fee required for shelter animals.

For more information contact Shelly Schossow.