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Frequently Asked Questions

Department of Health
Kari Reiber, MD, Commissioner


There may be additional FAQs that relate to the topics listed below on the complete
Frequently Asked Questions page.

  Animal Control  

Q.  What are the regulations regarding the keeping of fowl and livestock (chickens, pigs, horses, pigeons, etc.)?

For New York State and Dutchess County Sanitary Code regulations, contact Dutchess County Department of Health's Environmental Health Services Division at (845) 486-3404.

Zoning regulations for the keeping of livestock vary by municipality.  Click Here for a list of municipal addresses and links.

Q.  What can I do about a possibly rabid animal on my property?

If an animal on your property appears to be sick, or if it is behaving strangely, it may have rabies.  Avoid contact with the animal and keep your domestic pets away from the animal.   Call the Environmental Services Division of the Dutchess County Department of Health for guidance, at  (845) 486-3404.  Click Here for more information about rabies.

Q.  I have found sick/injured wildlife. What should I do?

If the animal appears to be sick, it may have rabies.  Avoid contact with the animal and call the Dutchess County Department of Health for guidance, at  (845) 486-3404.  Click Here for more information about rabies. 

If the animal has suffered an injury that would make it hard for the animal to survive or take care of itself, volunteer wildlife rehabilitators will take the animal free of charge and care for it until it can be released back into the wild.

Call the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation at (845) 256-3098 for the names of licensed volunteer wildlife rehabilitators in Dutchess County.  Visit the DEC website for more information on sick or injured wildlife and wildlife rehabilitators.

Q.  How can I find someone to remove a wild animal (squirrel, bat, etc.) from inside my home?

From time to time, squirrels may get into your attic, a skunk may enter your basement, raccoons may get into your chimney, or you may find a bat in your house.  For professional assistance with removing a wild animal, contact a nuisance wildlife control officer.  The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has information about Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators on its website.  You can also contact the DEC at (845) 256-3098 for information about Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators.

Since some wild animals (like skunks, raccoons, and bats) can carry rabies, you should take proper precautions if you decide to remove one from your home yourself. Avoid contact with the animal's saliva or nervous tissue.  Any exposure (bite, or an open wound or mucous membrane exposure) to a wild animal should be reported to the Dutchess County Department of Health.  During normal business hours, you can reach the Department at (845) 486-3404.  After normal business hours, on weekends and on holidays, call (845) 431-6465.

Keep in mind, if you find a bat in a room with a sleeping person, unattended child, or intoxicated or mentally compromised person, do not let the bat go. Capture the bat and then call the Dutchess County Department of Health for additional guidance.  During normal business hours, you can reach the Department at (845) 486-3404.  After normal business hours, on weekends, and on holidays, call (845) 431-6465.

Q.  What do I do if a stray (or neighborhood) dog or cat bites me?

There are both health issues and legal issues involved when an animal bite occurs.

First handle the health issues:  Try to determine who the owner of the animal is so that the animal can be screened for rabies.  Call the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 -or- (845) 431-6465 after hours to advise them of the bite.  Department of Health personnel are experienced in handling animal bite issues and they will determine what further steps need to be taken to ensure that you will not be at risk from rabies exposure.

For legal issues involving an animal bite, click Here.

Q.  Is there a law regarding cleaning up after your dog?

Dog manure complaints are handled by both municipalities and the Dutchess County Sanitary Code.  Individual municipalities may pass local laws governing dogs, including leashing, barking, confinement to the owner’s property, or picking up waste.  Also, there may be restrictions on the type or number of dogs.  In these instances, the code enforcement officer or dog warden in the municipality will enforce these regulations.Click Here for a list of municipal phone numbers that you can call to find out about the specific dog-related laws that may be in effect in your city, town or village.

Public Health Nuisance complaints regarding accumulation of dog waste are investigated by the Health Department under Article 8 of the Dutchess County Sanitary Code.

Q.  I found a dead animal in my yard. What should I do with it?

If there has been no contact with the animal by humans or pets, the dead animal can be either buried or double-bagged and disposed of in the garbage.  Please call the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 for specific instructions regarding the handling of the dead animal (such as wearing gloves) and the depth to which it should be buried.


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  Approvals and Permits  

Q.  What is the procedure for opening a food service facility?

The procedure for opening a food service facility and the permits, fees and inspections required will depend upon the type and size of the facility that you are opening.  For specific requirements, call the Environmental Health Services Division of the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 and ask to speak with the Public Health Sanitarian for the municipality in which the facility will be located.  Click Here to access a table of fees for various types and sizes of permitted facilities.

Q.  What is BOHA (Board of Health Approval)?

This is a common abbreviation for "Board of Health Approval" of a lot. Technically speaking, it should be Department of Health Approval.   Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q.  How do I get my lot approved?

Hire a NYS licensed Professional Engineer. They can be found in the yellow pages under Engineers, Professional; Engineers, Consulting; Engineers, Civil; or Engineers, Sanitary. Registered Architects and Land Surveyors with an N exemption may also design septic systems. Your engineer will complete a design for your septic system and well location onto a blueprint. The design will be based on the size of your house (number of bedrooms), the topography of the land, the neighboring wells and septic systems, and the type of soil on the lot (including depth to rock or groundwater).  Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q.  Why does a lot approval matter?

You must have approval prior to building a septic system and house.  Click Here for information regarding building permits, certificates of occupancy, and lot approvals.

Q.  How long does it take to get my lot approved?

This depends on the complexity of the project and may take months. However, our goal is to have the initial review of the submitted plans within 2 to 4 weeks.  Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q.  How much does a lot approval cost?

DCDOH charges a per lot review and inspection fee, as listed in our fee schedule. Your engineer, survey, testing, and construction will also cost money.

Q.  How long does a lot approval last?

Plans approved since 1985 expire 5 years from the date of approval. The owner of the lot can request an extension of the approval (up to 3 years). The lot will be evaluated by the Dutchess County Department of Health and the original approval may be extended.

Plans approved before 1985 generally do not have expiration dates, however, you will be required to demonstrate compliance with all the conditions of approval on the map.   Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q.  My lot approval expired. What can I do?

The lot owner can request an extension of approval. Send a letter with your name, return address, and enough information to find your old approval (tax map number, subdivision name and lot number, street are useful).  You may also use our HD-164 form.   

Send to: DCDOH
             Environmental Health
             387 Main Street
             Poughkeepsie, NY 12601

Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q.  What makes a lot approval invalid?

Natural and manmade problems can invalidate a map. For example, removing (mining) the soil from the proposed septic area invalidates the map since the soils which the approval was based on are no longer there. Changes in drainage can cause a lot to be wetter now than when the approval was granted. Conditions regarding ground and surface water would no longer be met. Occasionally, mistakes were made while drafting the plans. Misrepresentations and/or errors on a map invalidate the approval.

Check to see that the map has been legally filed with the Dutchess County Clerk's Office. Even though a map may be stamped by DCDOH, it is not valid until it is filed.  Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q.  What permits and/or approvals are required for me to add a bedroom to my home?

Most home alterations require a building permit from your town.  Towns require Dutchess County Department of Health approval prior to issuance of a building permit.  If your lot is approved, check the approval to see what conditions are required for your septic system for the total number of bedrooms in your home and addition.  If your lot is not approved or your approval is for fewer bedrooms than you desire, you will have to get a new approval.  Click Here for more information regarding building permits, certificates of occupancy and lot approvals.

Q.  How are summer camps and daycare centers regulated?

Summer camps and daycare centers are permitted and inspected by the Environmental Division of the Dutchess County Health Department, in accordance with the New York State and Dutchess County Sanitary Codes.

Q.  Do I need a permit to operate a hot dog truck and where can I park it?

Yes, this is considered a mobile food service facility and it does require a permit from the Dutchess County Department of Health.  Contact the Environmental Services Division of the Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 and ask to speak with a Public Health Sanitarian for the specific permit requirements for your hot dog truck:  To find out where you can park your hot dog truck, contact the appropriate municipality.  Click Here for a list of municipal contacts.

Q.  Do I need a permit to work on my septic system?

Yes, you may need a permit, depending upon what kind of work is being done.  Contact the Dutchess County Department of Health Division of Environmental Services at (845) 486-3404 for more information.


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  Clinics/Immunizations/Testing  

Q.  Where and when will the Dutchess County Department of Health be giving influenza shots this year?

The schedule and other pertinent information will be available by October 1 in your newspaper or by calling the influenza hotline at (845) 486-3435.

Q.  Who should get an influenza shot?

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. Persons at increased risk for complications from influenza include persons aged 65 and older, young children, persons with compromised immune systems, and health-care workers.  This information will be available on the flu hotline 845-486-3435.

Q.  Can children get an influenza shot at Dutchess County Department of Health influenza immunization clinics?

 No, but children can get influenza shots at Dutchess County Department of Health Children’s Immunization Clinics in Poughkeepsie, NY. Call 845.486.3535 for eligibilty screening and appointment.

Q.  Where can I get health information and immunizations for international travel?

The Dutchess County Department of Health conducts International Travel Immunization Clinics. For an appointment or for more information, call the international travel line at (845) 486-3504.

Q.  Is there a fee for the immunizations for international travel given by the Dutchess County Health Department?

Yes, there is a fee for international travel immunizations and a consultation fee. It is payable by cash or check.  For more information call the international travel line at (845) 486-3504.

Q.  Where can I get immunizations needed for college or employment?

 The Dutchess County Department of Health provides recommended adult immunizations at Adult Immunization and Sceening Clinic held in Poughkeepsie. There is a fee for some immunizations.  For more information call (845) 486-3535.

Q.  Where can I get immunizations needed for my children?

   Children’s Immunization Clinics are held for children aged 18 years and younger meeting eligibility requirements.  Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  Please call (845) 486-3535 for an appointment and eligibility.

Q.  Is there a fee for children’s immunizations given by the Dutchess County Health Department?

  No, immunizations are available free of charge for individuals meeting the eligibility requirements of the New York Vaccines for Children (VFC) program.  Your children’s doctor may also participate in this program.  Please check with your child’s health care provider.  For more information call (845) 486-3409.

Q.  What do I need to bring to the Dutchess County Department of Health's Children's Immunization Clinic in order for my child to receive an immunization?

A copy of the child’s immunization record from all previous health care providers is required.  For more information call (845) 486-3409.

Q.  Who can I speak to privately regarding STD/HIV testing?

  To speak to someone privately about STD/HIV testing, contact the Dutchess County Department of Health's Communicable Disease Division at (845) 486-3535.

Q.  My child needs a blood lead test. Can the Department of Health do this?

No, but the Dutchess County Department of Health can assist you in obtaining this test if your child has a health care provider but does not have health insurance that will pay for this test.  For more information call (845) 486-3419.

Q.  My child has an elevated blood lead level. What do I do?

The Dutchess County Department of Health can help you and your child’s health care provider by providing a range of services that might include any of the following:  health information, reminder letters, child development assessment, nutritional information, environmental assessment.  For more information call (845) 486-3419.  Visit the New York State Department of Health's website for more information on elevated blood lead levels in children:  http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2594/.

Q.  Where do I find a schedule of free rabies vaccination clinics?

The Dutchess County Department of Health schedules rabies vaccination clinics for pets three times a year.  Call the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 to find out when and where the next clinic is scheduled.  If you think you have been exposed to rabies, call the Department of Health at (845) 486-3404.


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  Complaints  

Q.  Who do I call to make a complaint about a doctor?

To make a complaint about a doctor contact the New York State Department of Health - Office of Professional Discipline at 1-800-442-8106.

Q.  I want to make a complaint about the care of a family member in a nursing home. Who should I call?

To make a complaint regarding the care given to a family member in a nursing home contact the New York State Department of Health - Health Facilities Management at (518) 474-2772.

Q.  Who can I contact about poor hygiene by staff in a restaurant?

Contact the Environmental Health Services Division of the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 for concerns regarding poor hygiene by restaurant employees.

Q.  Who can I contact when my landlord won't turn on the heat or when I have other problems with the residence that I am renting?

Call the Dutchess County Department of Health's Environmental Health Services Division at (845) 486-3404 for complaints about such things as heat, hot water, sewage, mold, etc.  Visit our Environmental Services web page for more information and contacts.

Q.  My neighbor's yard is full of junk and trash. What can be done?

You should register this type of complaint with two agencies:

  1. First, call the Environmental Health Services Division of the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 and ask to speak to the public health sanitarian who handles the municipality where your rental residence is located.

  2. Second, call the building and zoning department for the municipality where your rental residence is located and notify them of the problem.  Click Here for municipal contact information.

Q.  Who can I call to report a sewage odor?

To report a sewage odor, call the Environmental Health Services Division of the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 and ask to speak to the public health sanitarian who handles the municipality where the odor is occurring.  The sanitarian will conduct an investigation and will enforce the New York State and Dutchess County Sanitary Codes as appropriate.  Click Here for a list of municipality contacts and phone numbers.


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  Fee Schedules  

Q.  Where can I find the Dutchess County Department of Health’s fee schedules?

Our fee schedule contains fees for Engineering Review, Permitted Facilities, Tanning Facilities, and Environmental Laboratory Services.

Certain other services, including some immunizations, may have fees.  See the particular program for details.


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  Health Care Providers  

Q.  Where can I find health bulletins, alerts and advisories for health care providers?

Dutchess County Department of Health provides links to alerts, updates and advisories on its Public Health Alerts, Updates and Advisories webpage found under its Health Care Providers section.

Q.  As a health care provider, where can I find information about reporting requirements and guidelines?

Information for physicians and other health care providers can be found under the Health Care Providers section of the Department of Health's webpage.


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  Health Insurance  

Q.  My child has no health insurance. How do I find health insurance for my child?

You can get health insurance for your child by applying for Child Health Plus.  Child Health Plus is New York State funded comprehensive health insurance coverage for children birth - 19 years of age.  To find out whether you are eligible for Child Health Plus call the Community Action Partnership of Dutchess County at (845) 452-5104 (Poughkeepsie); (845) 831-2620 (Beacon); (845) 876-1611 (Red Hook); (845) 877-9272 (Dover Plains) or log on to their website at http://www.dutchesscap.org/.

Q.  My job doesn’t offer health insurance. Where would I get health insurance?

New York State has a program called Family Health Plus that provides adults ages19 - 64 with health insurance coverage.  You may find out more about this program on the New York State Department of Health website at http://www.health.ny.gov/health_care/family_health_plus/.  To find out whether you are eligible for Family Health Plus call the Community Action Partnership of Dutchess County (Dutchess CAP) at (845) 452-5104 (Poughkeepsie); (845) 831-2620 (Beacon); (845) 876-1611 (Red Hook); (845) 877-9272 (Dover Plains) or log on to their website at http://www.dutchesscap.org/.

Q.  I need to see a doctor but have no health insurance. Where can I go?

You can contact Community Health Hudson River HealthCare, Inc. at:
Poughkeepsie Atrium, One Webster Avenue, Ste. 202, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601.  For an appointment call (845) 483-5700.

For Eastern Dutchess County:
Amenia, 3360 Route 343, Amenia, NY 12501.  For an appointment call (845) 373-9006.

Q.  Where can I find out about the prescription discount drug card program?

Enrollment for this program is free for Dutchess County residents.  Visit the Dutchess County Prescription Discount Drug Card webpage for program details.


Q.  Is there a list of local pharmacies that participate in the prescription discount drug card program?

A list of local pharmacies that participate in the discount drug card program can be found on the Dutchess County Prescription Discount Drug Card webpage.  You can look up pharmacies on-line using the Switchboard.com website.



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  Individual Wells  

Q.  What should a well be tested for?

DCDOH recommends testing for bacteria yearly. See the Department of Health's webpage titled Environmental Water Laboratory for more information.

Your eyes and nose are very sensitive. If you notice a change in the water quality, you should consider testing. Suggested test parameters depend on the nature of the change.

Other chemical tests should be done if there are specific problems in you area.  Click Here for information regarding Environmental Health Services contacts. 

Q.  What contaminants are likely to be found in well water?

Bacteria are the most common.  Bacteria are normally present in the air, soil, and water.  Most of these bacteria are beneficial or harmless.  Bacteria can enter the well through improperly installed or damaged equipment.


  • Nitrates (dangerous for infants) from sewage systems or fertilizers have been found in some wells.
  • Sodium and chloride (salty taste) from water softeners or road salt have been found in some wells.
  • Iron and manganese (brown or black staining) are found in some of the bedrock and are found in some wells.
  • Certain wells have contaminants from fuel spills or spills of other industrial or agricultural chemicals.

Click Here for Dutchess County Department of Health's Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q.  What should I do if I find bacteria in my well?

Disinfect your well.  Find more information and instructions on our Well Information web page.

Q.  Is my well protected?

The Sanitary Code provides some protection (chiefly by regulating development) for individual wells.  The well owner should check the well and water system to ensure that all equipment is maintained and operated properly.   The Dutchess County Department of Health is working with several agencies to increase the protection of wells and the public.

Click Here to find related links to sanitary codes; click Here to find additional information regarding wells; click Here for more Environmental Health Services contact informaiton.

Q.  Is my well contaminated?

The best way to check for contamination is to test your well.  The Dutchess County Department of Health  can assist your efforts with specific advice on test types.   Call (845) 486-3404 for assistance.  Click Here to view more information regarding wells.  For Environmental Health Services contact information, click Here.


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  Public Health Information/Education  

Q.  Where can I go to dispose of unused or expired prescription medicine?

Contact the Dutchess County Resource Recovery Agency at (845) 463-6020 or visit their website at http://www.dcrra.org/index2.html to see their Meds Disposal Collection Day Event schedule.

Q.  Where can I dispose of hypodermic syringes, needles, lancets and sharps containers?

All sharps to include needles, syringes and lancets must be placed in a rigid, puncture resistant closure such as a coffee can or a specifically made container called a sharps container.  As of July 1996, sharps from Dutchess County households can be taken to area hospitals for proper disposal.  Some of them also offer approved containers for sale. Please refer to the following website for the specific times, days and locations:  http://www.dcrra.org/sharps.html.

Q.  How can I manage my child's asthma?

The Dutchess County Department of Health has a program called Open Airways designed to help parents and children learn how to manage asthma.  Program kits available throught the Mid-Hudson Library System.  For more information call the department at (845) 486-3559 or click HERE to visit the website of the American Lung Association.

Q.  Where can I get information about diabetes?

Contact the Dutchess County Department of Health's Public Health Information Division at (845) 486-3542 to obtain information regarding diabetes or click on the following link: http://www.diabetes.org/.

Q.  Where can I obtain health statistics and data?

You may visit the New York State Department of Health's website, as well as the Dutchess County Department of Health Statistics and Data Reports page, which also includes a Data Request Form if additional statistical information is needed.

Q.  Where can I obtain information regarding CPR or attend a class?

Contact the following organizations for information about CPR classes:

  • Alamo (845) 471-6618
  • Vassar Brothers Medical Center Education Department (845) 454-8500
  • St. Francis Hospital Education Department (845) 483-5000
  • American Heart Association (845) 485-4703
  • American Red Cross (845) 471-0200
  • Dutchess County Department of Health (845) 486-3413

Q.  Who can I contact about having a Dutchess County Department of Health representative speak or present materials at our health fair?

Contact the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 485-3421 for more information on how we can assist you with your event.  You may also email HealthInfo@dutchessny.gov with your event details.  Health Education Materials and Brochures are also available at http://www.health.ny.gov/publications/4208/

Q.  Where can I find information about a specific disease?

The Dutchess County Department of Health provides a great amount of information on its webpages about specific diseases.  Click on Health Information from the left navigation menu of the department's homepage; hover over Diseases on the pop-out menu to display  specific disease information available then click on the desired link.  You can also find information on diseases and conditions on the website of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): http://www.cdc.gov/DiseasesConditions/.


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  Records  

Q.  Where can I obtain a copy of a birth certificate or death certificate?

Either contact the municipality where the birth or death occurred OR click on the following New York State links and scroll through the instructions to learn how to place an order for a birth or death certificate copy via either the Internet, by fax, by telephone or by mail:


Q.  How can I find out about health issues relating to a particular water supply, lot, restaurant, regulated facility, etc.?

Most Dutchess County Department of Health records are available to the public through the Freedom of Information Law procedures.  Please submit a specific request.  An Application to Access Records (.pdf) can be found on on our Forms web page.


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  Septic Systems  

Q.  How do I operate and maintain my septic system (also known as a sewage disposal system)?

Have the septic tank pumped regularly (every 2 to 10 years, depending on your usage). Do not put toxic materials into the system. Do not put large quantities of water into the system (don't leave the sink on all day).  Click Here for the Dutchess County Department of Health's Environmental Health Services contact information.  Click on the following link for more detailed information on maintaining your septic system:
http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/outdoors/septic/

Q.  How can I find my septic tank?

The septic tank is usually about ten feet from the house under six to twelve inches of soil.  The house sewer (the pipe from the house to the tank) is usually straight, so try to find where it leaves the basement and look outside ten feet from there.  If you can't find the house sewer, look for cleanouts by the foundation or vents on the roof.
 
Older houses have cast iron house sewers, so metal detectors may work.
 
The Dutchess County Department of Health makes sketches of tank locations for systems during the inspection of approved septic systems.  If you can't find your copy, our copy may be available.  For contact information regarding the Departement's Environmental Health Services, click Here.

Q.  Where can I get a copy of my Board of Health approval on my septic system?

To obtain a copy of the approval of your septic system, contact the Environmental Services Division of the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404.


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  Tobacco  

Q.  Where can I get information on the health effects of tobacco?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website contains a wide range of information regarding tobacco use and health effects. You can also visit our web page that contains links to other sources of information - or - call the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404.

Q.  Where can I get information on the tobacco laws in Dutchess County and in New York State?

For information on local and state laws regarding tobacco use, visit our web page that contains related links -or- contact the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404.

Q.  Where can I get smoking cessation services?

In addition to your healthcare provider, you may contact any of the following for tobacco cessation support:

Council on Addiction Prevention & Education (CAPE)  -  http://capedc.org/  -  845-765-8301

New York State "Quitline"  -  www.NYSmokeFree.com  -  1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487)

National Cancer Institute  -  www.SmokeFree.org  - 1-800-Quit-Now

Q.  What are the laws concerning tobacco use on school grounds and where can I obtain information about school smoking policies?

Call the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 for information.

Q.  How do I apply for a Tobacco permit?

Contact the Environmental Health Services Division of the Dutchess County Department of Health at (845) 486-3404 for information on how to apply for a Tobacco permit.   A Tobacco Sale Registration and Permit Application (.pdf) can be downloaded from our forms page.


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  Water Supply  

Q.  How can I get my water tested?

Effective March 1, 2011, the Dutchess County Department of Health's Environmental Water Laboratory was closed. For information about water testing services and contacts, please click HERE

Q.  Who can I call when I have problems with my water?

If you have your own well, you can call the Dutchess County Department of Health for advice. The Department of Health does not regulate individual wells. You may also wish to call a well driller or plumber.

If you receive your water from a Public Water Supply, you should call the owner or operator of the supply.  If they do not solve your problem, you may then call the Department of Health's Environmental Health Services division with any health and safety questions.

Q.  What water supplies are regulated?

Water served to 25 people per day at least 60 days out of the year is regulated under the State and County Sanitary Codes. Certain other supplies are also regulated. Check out the definition of Public Water Supply in Part 5-1 (see the Laws, Regulations and Codes webpage). There are some other criteria as well.  See the Dutchess County Department of Health's Environmental Health Services contacts web page for contact information.

Q.  What is tested by Public Water suppliers?

Public water supplies test for coliform bacteria at least quarterly.  Larger supplies may test for inorganic, organic, and radioactive compounds.  For exact details, you can look up Part 5-1 tables 1 through 12 elsewhere on this site.  Your water company should be sending a yearly report on their water quality.  Click Here to find related links; click Here for Environmental Health Service contact information.

Q.  Where can I find information regarding public water supplies in Dutchess County?

You can find information about public water supplies in Dutchess County in the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS.)  Click HERE to access the SDWIS database.

Q.  How come my water is white or milky?

If a glass of water appears milky, watch it for awhile.  If the milkiness clears at the bottom first and gradually goes away, the milkiness was caused by air in the water.  This condition has no health significance.  Air in the storage tank or pressure tank (or well) has dissolved into the water.  When the pressure drops (from in the pipe to in your glass) the air comes out (undissolves) and forms tiny bubbles that float to the top and rejoin the atmosphere.  This condition is more likely to occur during the colder months (because the solubility of gases in water increases as the temperature decreases).  Click Here for Environmental Health Services contact information.


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  Weights and Measures  

Q.  Is it legal for a gas station to charge more for the price per gallon if you pay by credit card as opposed to cash?

New York State Law Article 29-A Section 518 prohibits the imposition of a surcharge on a card holder who elects to use a credit card instead of payment by cash, check or similar means. The law, however, does not prohibit the application of discounts, and often gas stations will chose to offer a discount if someone is paying cash; in those cases, the credit card charge is not a surcharge. When you pay for your gas, check that the going rate advertised for the price per gallon is the credit card price.

Q.  Do I need a license to purchase and sell gold, silver and other precious metals?

Yes.  All establishments in Dutchess County engaging in the purchase of gold, silver, and other precious metals are licensed through the Dutchess County Division of Weights and Measures.

Q.  What is the role of the Division of Weights and Measures?

The Dutchess County Division Weights and Measures is responsible for assuring measurement accuracy in commerce throughout its region in accordance with Article 16 of the NYS Agriculture and Markets Law.

Q.  Who do I call to report a faulty meter on a gas pump?

Report suspected inaccuracies or violations to:
Dutchess County Division of Weights and Measures, 98 Peach Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601, (845)486-2949; Fax (845)486-2947; e-Mail weightsandmeasures@co.dutchess.ny.us.

Q.  Why are Dutchess County gas prices are higher than surrounding counties such as Columbia and Ulster?

The higher price for gasoline in Dutchess County is directly attributed to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) requirement that Dutchess County stations sell reformulated gasoline to help improve air quality in the region.  Dutchess County, as well as Orange County and Putnam County, is part of a “non-attainment area”- designated by USEPA in mid-2004.  This means the levels of the pollutant ozone, as measured by an air monitoring meter, exceed the established federal standard.  A State “non-attainment area” must develop a state implementation plan (SIP) that describes its approach to reducing both the emissions of ozone precursors, and the overall level of ozone in the air.   The requirement for the sale of reformulated gasoline in Dutchess County and other lower Hudson Valley counties is part of the current SIP prepared by New York State.

Reformulated gasoline is more expensive than regular gasoline.  It is blended to burn cleaner and reduce smog-forming and toxic pollutants in the air. The blend is made by adding ethanol (up to 10 percent) to increase the oxygen content of gasoline.


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  West Nile Virus  

Q.  What number do I call to report a dead bird?

Call the Dutchess County Department of Health's West Nile Virus Hotline at (845) 486-3438.  Your call will be returned by a staff member.  Please click Here for more information.

Q.  Where can I get more information on West Nile Virus?

To receive information on the West Nile Virus, call the Dutchess County Department of Health's West Nile Virus Hotline at (845) 486-3438.  Click Here or Here for more information from the Dutchess County Health Department, or visit the website of the New York State Department of Health.


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Kari Reiber, MD,Commissioner of Health Kari Reiber, MD
Commissioner of Health
Dutchess County Seal

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