Skip to main content

Frequently Asked Questions

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 Behavioral & Community Health. Contact the Environmental Services Division of the Department of Behavioral & Community 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 the following link 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 Behavioral & Community Health Division of Environmental Services at 845-486-3404 for more information.

Clinics/Immunizations/Testing

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

Flu vaccine will be available through the Department's Adult Immunization and Screening Clinic on Mondays, by appointment at 845-486-3535 or clinics@dutchessny.gov

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 healthcare workers.

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

No, but children can get influenza shots at Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community Health conducts International Travel Immunization Clinics. For an appointment or for more information, call the international travel line at 845-486-3535. Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department to learn more about the country you will be visiting.

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

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 845-486-3535.

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

The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Department of Behavioral & Community Health?

No, immunizations are available free of charge for individuals meeting the eligibility requirements of the New York Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. Your child’s doctor may also participate in this program. Please check with your child’s healthcare provider. For more information, call 845-486-3535.

Q. What do I need to bring to the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 healthcare providers is required. For more information call 845-486-3535.

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 Behavioral & Community Health's Communicable Disease Division at 845-486-3535.

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

No, but the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community 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. New York State Department of Health has additional information on elevated blood lead levels in children.

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

The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health schedules rabies vaccination clinics for pets three times a year. Call the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community Health at 845-486-3404.

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 Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community 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 Contacts 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 Behavioral & Community 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.

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 Behavioral & Community 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 the following link for a list of municipality contacts and phone numbers.

Fee Schedules

Q. Where can I find the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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.

Health Care Providers

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

Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community Health's webpage.

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 Behavioral & Community 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?

For a listing of local pharmacies that participate in the discount drug card program, please visit the Prescription Discount Drug Card webpage or call toll-free at 1-877-321-2651.

Individual Wells

Q. What should a well be tested for?

The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health recommends testing for bacteria yearly. See the Department of Behavioral & Community 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. Visit Environmental Health Services Contacts for contact information.

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.

View Contact Information for Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health's Environmental Health Services.

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 Behavioral & Community Health is working with several agencies to increase the protection of wells and the public.

Visit our Environmental Services web page to find related links to sanitary codes; for additional information regarding wells, visit our Well Information web page. View more Environmental Health Services contact information.

Q. Is my well contaminated?

The best way to check for contamination is to test your well. The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health can assist your efforts with specific advice on test types. Call 845-486-3404 for assistance. Visit our well information page to view more information. Visit Environmental Health Services Contacts for contact information.

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 Behavioral & Community Health has a program called Open Airways designed to help parents and children learn how to manage asthma. Program kits are available throughout the Mid-Hudson Library System. For more information call the department at 845-486-3559 or visit the website of the American Lung Association.

Q. Where can I get information about diabetes?

Contact the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community 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:

  • Vassar Brothers Medical Center Education Department 845-454-8500
  • Mid Hudson Regional Hospital Education Department 845-483-5000
  • American Heart Association 845-485-4703
  • American Red Cross 845-471-0200

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

Contact the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Health.NY.gov

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

The Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health provides a great amount of information on its webpages about specific diseases. Visit our Services and Programs page to view information on specific diseases. 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/.

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 Behavioral & Community 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.

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). Visit Environmental Health Services Contacts for contact information. Visit Health.NY.gov for more detailed information on maintaining your septic system

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 Behavioral & Community 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. Visit Environmental Health Services Contacts for contact information.

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 Behavioral & Community Health at 845-486-3404.

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 Behavioral & Community 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 Tobacco web page that contains related links -or- contact the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community 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" - NYSmokeFree.com - 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487)

National Cancer Institute - 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 Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community 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.

Water Supply

Q. How can I get my water tested?

Effective March 1, 2011, the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health's Environmental Water Laboratory was closed. For information about water testing services and contacts, please visit the Environmental Water Laboratory web page.

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 Behavioral & Community Health for advice. The Department of Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community 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 Behavioral & Community 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. Visit our Environmental Services web page to find related links; for contact information, visit Environmental Health Services Contacts.

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.) 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). Visit Environmental Health Services Contacts for contact information.

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.

West Nile Virus, Zika, and Other Mosquito-borne Diseases

Q. What number do I call to report a dead bird or aggressive, daytime-biting mosquitoes?

Call the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health's Mosquito-borne Disease Information Line at 845-486-3438. Your call will be returned by a staff member.

Q. Where can I get more information on West Nile Virus, Zika, and other mosquito-borne diseases?

To receive information on the West Nile Virus, Zika, and other mosquito-borne diseases, call the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health's Mosquito-borne Disease Information Line at 845-486-3438. Visit our Mosquito-Borne Diseases web page for more information from the Dutchess County Department of Behavioral & Community Health, or visit the website of the New York State Department of Health.