The Nile's Public Health Division, housed in Community Development, is staffed by a full-time health officer. Dwight E. Roepenack, is licensed by the State of Illinois Department of Finance and Professional Regulation as a Licensed Environmental Health Practitioner and Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian with the National Environment Health Association. He is licensed by the State Department of Public Health in several categories of pest control, food service sanitation, and as a swimming pool operator, and is also certified by the Illinois State Department of Agriculture to use larvicides for mosquito control. Academic qualifications for Mr. Roepenack are a Master's Degree in Public Policy and Administration, a Bachelor's Degree in the Life Sciences and an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts.
Our health officer is also required to participate in continuing education seminars throughout the year to maintain licensing, certifications and proficiency.
In our FOOD PROTECTION PROGRAM, we routinely inspect restaurants, retail food stores, taverns, bakeries, caterers, schools, day care centers and home, nursing homes, mobile food vehicles, warehouses and temporary food services (carnivals, holiday bazaars, etc.) The department also performs emergency inspections in these establishments due to fires, floods or other hazardous incidents and is on 24 hour call. There are 272 - 282 food establishments to inspect biannually now. Reports are prepared for inspections performed concerning conditions found, actions taken, and recommendations for further action. Follow up inspections for violations are made for compliance with notification to the appropriate county and state agencies when required, issue citations and attend court hearings.
Our ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM consists of inspections of public swimming pools and spas, barber shops, beauty shops, dry cleaners, pet shops and automobile service stations. We inspect these facilities on a complaint basis only at this time.
The Division INVESTIGATES COMPLAINTS concerning all of the above establishments which we inspect as well as air pollution, animals and birds, weeds, debris, noise pollution, rodents and insects, odors and any other potential health hazard. The Division is becoming more involved in occurrences regarding hazardous wastes and materials which consist of mostly pesticides and petroleum based products.
The Health Division reviews all PLANS AND BLUEPRINTS for new or renovated food service establishments, schools, swimming pools and spas, beauty shops, medical offices, demolition (commercial and residential) and other establishments under our jurisdiction.
REFERRALS AND INFORMATION concerning personal health matters, such as where to get assistance for tuberculosis testing, inoculations for travel abroad, and free inoculations for children are handled by our Division.
As a way of quantifying the programs of the Health Division some historical data is needed. In 1988 there were only 178 food service establishments with one full time sanitarian on staff. In 2017, 515 food service establishment inspections were performed, 49 follow-up inspections were made and 9 food complaint inspections were received and investigated. In addition, 169 inspections and meetings took place with regard to complaints and requests for service from the residents. The food sanitation regulations have become more detailed and are based on more sophisticated scientific research. We now follow food products from the delivery door to the table. The total number of food service establishments has risen to the current 272 -282 with additional facilities under construction. This number fluctuates annually with new food facilities opening and others closing. Occasionally, we are asked to make presentations to school groups.
Personal health activities are more difficult to quantify. Most of our work in these areas are referrals to other agencies such as the Human Services Department within the Village, The Suburban Cook County Tuberculosis Clinics, Cook County Health Department and the The State of Illinois Department of Public Health.