Published November 5, 2020

Position Details

Position Title: Sanitarian
Organization:  Meagher County Health Department
Starting Wage:  $22-$26

Work Unit Overview

The Sanitarian is responsible for managing all programs related to sanitation and the environmental health and welfare of Meagher County. Services are to be provided relating to septic systems, food service inspections, water and sewage, environmental health and other services relating to health and public safety, in addition to management and interaction with the State of Montana or Federal government guidelines. Also provides technical advice and assistance related to the solid waste, junk vehicle, recycling programs.

Job Summary

The Sanitarian performs a variety of administrative and technical duties associated with health inspections of public licensed establishments, including routine and follow-up inspections of retail and wholesale food service establishments, public accommodations, trailer courts, schools, daycare centers, group homes, swimming pools, and tattoo and body piercing establishments for compliance with State regulations. In addition, the Registered Sanitarian may assist with review of construction or remodel plans of licensed establishments, participates in communicable disease investigations, is available to teach food safety and disease prevention classes to food service personnel and daycare providers, performs soil evaluations and regulates installation of subsurface septic systems, performs final septic inspections, assists with training and certification of septic installers, reviews subdivisions for sanitation requirements, and investigates complaints related to environmental health issues.

Essential Functions (Major Duties or Responsibilities)

These duties are the essential functions and are not all-inclusive of all duties that the incumbent performs.

  • Daily contact with state and local officials, operators of licensed establishments, septic installers, professional consultants, and customer service to the general public that include telephone complaints, questions, referrals, and written correspondence.
  • Coordination of duties with the Planning Department, County Commissioners, Public Health Department, County Health Officer, Disaster and Emergency Services and State officials is critical.
  • Conduct field inspections of licensed establishments in the county including but not limited to restaurants, bars, motels, and other public establishments such as children’s camps, swimming pools, septic systems, water and sewage treatment systems, nursing homes, hospitals, trailer courts, campgrounds, day care facilities, group homes, long term and adult care facilities, diagnostic and treatment centers and public school kitchens to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local health regulations, and in doing so, educates the operators of these establishments as to health codes. Must Prepare, process, manage, and submit inspection reports to state agencies as required.
  • Review subdivisions for compliance with sanitary restrictions and removal requirements; assist the general public in meeting state requirements in regard to subdivisions. Check and sign off on Plat and Certificates of Survey for compliance with local and state sanitary restriction regulations and participate in Exemption Review Board meetings.
  • Perform field tests and soil evaluations to ensure public water supplies, septic systems and water treatment facilities comply with federal, state, and local regulations. Document findings and deficiencies in inspection reports, and notify owner and state regulatory personnel of any recommended improvements to the water system or the details regarding corrective actions. Conduct follow-up inspections as necessary to ensure corrective actions are implemented and deficiencies are corrected.
  • Enforce health protection standards as outlined by the State of Montana or federal government guidelines. Recommend appropriate action against violators of the health code and enforce codes pertaining to inspection of licensed establishments. Conduct sanitary surveys on food establishments, public accommodations, trailer courts, public pools and spas, schools, and day care facilities.
  • Provide technical and regulatory assistance to the public and public health officials in response to routine regulatory questions or complaints related to various environmental health issues (e.g., indoor/outdoor air quality, water quality, septic problems, food safety, hazardous material spills, radon, new or emerging communicable diseases, rabid animals, etc.).
  • Analyze and review septic permit applications to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal regulations. Identify application deficiencies or areas of noncompliance and recommend approval or denial of applications based on analysis. Conduct site evaluations, inspect wastewater treatment system installation, soil testing, and perform groundwater monitoring, often times going into 8 ft. deep test pits and walking through rough terrain. Issue septic permits in accordance with local regulations; and conduct well-water testing.
  • Responsible for working with the Solid Waste Foreman on planning, organizing, directing, and supervising the landfill, transfer stations, and related solid waste functions and recycling programs.
  • Is a resource to the Solid Waste Division in coordinating the collection and disposal of refuse and recycling materials in Meagher County; is a resource on handling hazardous waste and managing the Junk Vehicle Program for the County. Assists Solid Waste Foreman in keeping licensing current for the two Class III landfills in Meagher County, is available for inspections; and assists in applying for approval to DEQ for burning at landfills, as needed.
  • Analyze and review plans for new or remodeled food service establishments and public accommodations by examining plan designs (i.e. materials used, plumbing features and their layout, mechanical features, electrical plans, etc.) for compliance with laws and regulations. Provide assistance in correcting areas of noncompliance, coordinate permitting processes, and conduct specialized inspections of food services provided for temporary events.
  • Conduct health informational and educational meetings for the general public on a variety of health issues as needed. Cooperate with the Public Health Department and participate in various meetings to promote improvements in the field of public health.
  • Provide instruction and education to food service employees and others on safe food handling and prevention of illness. Conduct presentations and training courses for the public and the food service industry.
  • Assist with other department staff and the IT department in ensuring that general information regarding environmental health, regulations, forms, recalled foods, market withdrawals, safety alerts, disease outbreaks and related information posted on the county website is current and correct. This includes providing IT department with links to outside resources such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • May investigate food-borne illness outbreaks in coordination with the Public Health Department. Analyze relevant information to identify suspected sources of the food-borne illness, investigate food-handling practices, and provide input for epidemiological studies detailing involved food, symptoms, and any related information to assist in determining causes and prevent future outbreaks. Responsible for reporting to appropriate state DPHHS/FCSS on food-related truck wrecks.
  • Investigate complaints on unsanitary conditions and nuisances to determine whether public health laws are violated and recommend appropriate level of response based on analysis, or refer complainant to an appropriate source/agency for resolution. Maintain records and reports of findings. Refer more complex questions and complaints to supervisor or higher-level environmental health specialists.
  • Prepare and submit annual operating budget to the County Commissioners for the Sanitarian’s Office, accounting for the money spent and performing inventory duties on the materials and equipment on hand. May work with the Solid Waste Foreman to maintain current inventory of equipment, and assist in writing bid specifications to acquire new equipment and materials as needed.
  • Attends Solid Waste Board Meetings and advises them on sanitary and environmental health issues and compliance. May also serve as a technical advisor to the Meagher County Health Board.
  • May be required to testify in court in matters relating to actions taken against violators of public health law.
    Perform other duties as assigned.

Non-Essential Functions

  • Administer various departmental programs for training purposes.
  • May conduct investigations of children’s camp injuries, environmental conditions conducive to childhood lead poisoning, chemical exposures, indoor air violation complaints, and public health emergencies.
  • Perform the duties outlined in the county’s disaster manual in the event of a disaster or public health emergency.
  • Perform other duties as assigned including but not limited to managing special projects, preparing activity reports, maintaining records, attending meetings and conferences, providing backup for other staff, participating in on-going training, etc.

Physical Demands & Working Conditions

The demands and conditions described here are representative of those the employee must meet to perform the essential functions of the job.

  • Involves sitting, standing, driving, and walking. Must be able to reach for and use writing instruments, calculator, computer keyboard, read reports, maps and other written material, and use the telephone and oral communication with the public.
  • Requires climbing up and down ladders to inspect confined spaces, crawling in crawl spaces, and under houses to inspect plumbing and well construction.
  • Employee must bend, stoop, and kneel to inspect food service establishments, sewage treatment systems, and other locations.
  • May be required to lift up to 40 pounds frequently and occasionally up to 75 pounds.
  • Work is conducted in an office and in varied indoor/outdoor settings while inspecting during all types of weather conditions.
  • May risk exposure to various environmental hazards and hazardous materials during the course of investigations; occasionally required to utilize protective equipment.
  • Occasionally works with hostile individuals during the course of investigative/enforcement functions.

Supervision Exercised

The primary function of this job is not in a supervisory capacity; may be asked to exercise supervision over other para-professionals, support staff, contract employees, etc. The position may provide training and guidance to employees with less experience, and coordinate special projects as directed.

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities

The job requires knowledge of environmental health rules and laws, disease control, food protection, housing and the residential environment, air pollution control, institutional and recreation sanitation, source and protection of water supply, treatment of water, wastewater treatment and disposal, solid waste management, and vector and weed control.

The job also requires knowledge of the principles and practices of physical and life sciences; federal, state, and county sanitary and public health regulations and enforcement procedures, research, and investigation techniques, the County’s Disaster Plan, soils testing, and related principle and practices of environmental health management.

The job requires skill in the operation of databases and standard office software, investigative techniques, and public relations. Must maintain confidentiality, use good judgment, handle stress and deal with different personality types. Must communicate effectively orally and in writing, follow verbal and written instructions, and establish effective working relationships with fellow employees, supervisors, and the public.

The job requires the ability to determine compliance with laws and regulations, appropriately assess a wide variety of environmental/sanitary situations through inspections and investigations, effectively deal with the public, communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, assume full responsibility for the quality and integrity of investigation decisions and follow-up until the situation or issue has been resolved, physically perform the investigations, to learn the tenets of Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). SARA Title III, understand and apply knowledge of all related Environmental Health issues related to food service, septic systems, pool operations, complaint management, emergency preparedness, hazardous materials safety, and other environmental health issues; and to assess and determine appropriate actions in emergency situations.

Education & Experience

The job requires education and experience equivalent to bachelor’s degree in chemical or biological sciences or environmental health; current license as a Registered Sanitarian (RS); and three (3) years of experience as a Sanitarian or in a closely related field, or an acceptable combination of education and experience. Evaluation for equivalency is a case by case process but begins with 45 quarter hours or 30 semester hours in the physical and biological health sciences with specific courses in biology, chemistry and microbiology and three (3) years of related experience.

Must possess a valid State of Montana driver’s license. A criminal background check is required of the final applicant.

Job Performance Standards

Evaluation of this position will be based primarily upon performance of the preceding requirements and duties. Examples of job performance criteria include, but are not limited, to the following: Performs assigned duties, makes complete and accurate health inspections, keeps complete and accurate files on establishments, knows and understands federal, state and county regulations regarding sanitary inspections, air and water quality, subdivision review, and septic systems. Accurately applies methods and procedures used in sanitary inspections, assists and provides information on all health code rules and regulations; effectively inspects and reviews sanitation for subdivisions, and conducts thorough investigations when needed. Also operates equipment and machinery properly, demonstrates ability to work in adverse weather conditions, is able to travel, as required, for the position, maintains accurate and timely records, and prepares and submits accurate and timely reports. Must make appropriate decisions based on the information given, coordinate activities with the County Planner, Mayor, County Commissioners, Public Health Department, Public Health Board, County Health Officer, and other State officials, as well as dealing tactfully with the public. Must observe appropriate work hours, demonstrate punctuality.

Application Instructions

Contact the county and ask about the County Sanitarian position.

  • Phone: 406-547-3234
  • Email:  ekerr@meagherco.net

The County is an equal opportunity employer. The County shall, upon request, provide reasonable accommodations to otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities.

This job description is intended to reflect core areas of responsibility and an incumbent employees’ knowledge and skill set needed to complete those functions. This document is not intended to catalog each individual duty; employees are routinely called upon to address emerging employer requirements in alignment with individual work units and assignments of jobs. The job description does not constitute an employment agreement between the employer and employee and is subject to change by the employer as the needs of the employer change.