[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Pierce County by Ord. No. 84-1; amended in its entirety 11-9-1999 by Ord. No. 99-13. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter is adopted pursuant to the authority granted by §§ 251.04, 251.06, 252.01, 252.02, 252.03, 252.05, 252.06, 252.07, 252.11, 252.18, 252.19, 252.21, 254.59, 254.593 and 254.595, Wis. Stats.
The purpose and intent of this chapter is to protect the public health, safety and general welfare and to maintain and protect the environment for the people and communities of Pierce County and in the process to:
Prevent communicable diseases.
Prevent the continuance of public nuisances.
Assure compliance with county and state air quality standards.
Assure that insects and rodents do not create a public nuisance and/or human health hazard.
Assure that surface and ground waters meet county and state standards and regulations.
Assure that solid waste is handled, stored and disposed of according to county and state standards and regulations.
Assure that citizens are protected from hazardous, unhealthy or unsafe substances.
Provide for the administration and enforcement of this chapter and provide penalties for its violation.
The following definitions apply throughout this chapter:
- Pierce County, Wisconsin.
- DWELLING or DWELLING UNIT
- A structure, all or part of which is designed or used for human habitation.
- All water found beneath the surface of Pierce County located in sand, gravel, lime rock or sandstone geological formations or any combination of these formations.
- HEALTH HAZARD
- A situation or condition which exists or has the potential to exist which adversely affects or has the potential to adversely affect the health of a person and/or the general public.
- HUMAN HEALTH HAZARD
- A substance, activity or condition that is known to have the potential to cause acute or chronic illness or death if exposure to the substance, activity or condition is not abated.
- IMMEDIATE HEALTH HAZARD
- A condition which exists or has the potential to exist which should, in the opinion of the Local Health Officer, be abated or corrected immediately, or at least within a twenty-four-hour period, to prevent possible severe damage to human health and/or the environment.
- LOCAL HEALTH OFFICER
- The health officer who is in charge of a local health department.
- The Pierce County Public Health Nuisance and Human Health Hazard Ordinance.
- Any of the following:
- Any individual, firm, corporation, society, institution, public body or any other entity.
- The contaminating or rendering unclean or impure of the air, land or waters of the county or making the same injurious to public health, harmful for commercial or recreational use or deleterious to fish, bird, animal or plant life.
- Affecting or having the potential to affect the people and/or the environment outside the limits of one's personally owned and/or occupied structure.
- PUBLIC HEALTH NUISANCE
- A thing, act, condition or use of property which is dangerous or has the potential to be dangerous to human life or health and whatever renders or has the potential to render the soil, air, water or any article of food or drink unwholesome or impure is a nuisance.
- SOLID WASTE
- Garbage, refuse and all other discarded or salvageable solid materials from commercial and agricultural operations and from domestic use and public service activities, but does not include solids or dissolved material in wastewater effluent or other common water pollutants.
- The State of Wisconsin.
- STRUCTURE or BUILDING
- A man-made structure or device having walls and a roof erected or set upon an individual foundation or slab-constructed base designed or used for the housing, shelter, enclosure or support of persons, animals or property of any kind. This definition shall include mobile homes.
- TOXIC MATERIALS and HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
- Any chemical and/or biological material that is or has the potential to create a public health nuisance or human health hazard.
The ordinance codified in this chapter shall be referred to as the "Pierce County Public Health Nuisance and Human Health Hazard Ordinance."
The Pierce County Local Health Officer shall be appointed by the County Board Chairperson, subject to confirmation by the County Board of Supervisors.
This chapter shall be administered by the Local Health Officer or delegated official. The Local Health Officer or the delegated official shall have the power to ensure compliance with the intent and purpose of this chapter by any means possible under the law. This chapter shall not divest the Zoning Administrator or Solid Waste Administrator or other county official of powers and duties previously delegated elsewhere in the Pierce County Code.
The provisions of this chapter shall be interpreted to be minimum requirements and shall be liberally construed in favor of enforcement and shall not be deemed a limitation or repeal of any power granted by the Wisconsin statutes, Wisconsin Administrative Code or by the Pierce County Board of Supervisors in other provisions of the Pierce County Code.
The jurisdiction of this chapter shall include all air, land and water (both surface and ground) within Pierce County but shall not apply within the corporate limits of municipalities that have a local health department in accord with Chapter 251, Wis. Stats.
Written orders. Compliance with this chapter shall include compliance with all written orders issued under this chapter or pursuant to Wisconsin statutes requiring abatement and/or correction of a public nuisance or human health hazard or to bring any other situation or condition in noncompliance with this chapter into compliance.
The Local Health Officer or other county official shall have all the powers necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter, without limitation by reason of enumeration, including the following:
To enter any structure or premises at a reasonable time for the purpose of performing duties under this chapter and to secure a court order to accomplish this purpose if necessary.
To order abatement and/or correction of any public nuisance or health hazard in compliance with this chapter or state statutes.
To delegate the administration and enforcement of this chapter to a registered environmental health sanitarian or another person qualified in the field of public health, except as delegated elsewhere in the Pierce County Code.
To take any other action authorized under the law or this chapter to ensure compliance with the purpose, intent and requirements of this chapter.
No person shall erect, construct, cause, continue, maintain or permit any human or immediate health hazard or public nuisance within the county. Any person who shall cause, create or maintain a human or immediate health hazard or nuisance or who shall in any way aid or contribute to the causing, creating or maintenance thereof shall be guilty of a violation of this chapter and shall be liable for all costs and expense attendant upon the removal and correction of such a human or immediate health hazard or nuisance and to the penalty provided in § 180-18E.
It shall be the responsibility of the property owner to maintain property in a hazard-free manner and to be responsible for the abatement and/or correction of any human or immediate health hazard or public health nuisance that has been determined to exist on his or her property. In the event that the property is occupied by a tenant who fails or refuses to abate or correct a human or immediate health hazard or public health nuisance for which the tenant is responsible, responsibility for abatement and/or correction will be that of the property owner.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit found to have any of the following defects shall be designated as unfit for human habitation:
One which is so decayed, dilapidated, unsanitary, unsafe, infested and/or structurally damaged that it creates a serious hazard to the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
One in which water, sewer, heating, electrical or septic system facilities fail to adequately protect the health or safety of the occupants or of the public.
One in which doors and/or windows fail to exclude rain, snow, low temperatures and wind (inclement weather) or one in which windows/screens fail to prevent an infestation of flies and/or other disease-carrying insects and fail to allow adequate air circulation.
One which is not free of accumulation of solid waste, garbage, animal waste and other debris, which results in an unhealthy and unsanitary condition and presents a potential danger to public health.
One which is not maintained in a manner so as to prevent excess damage, decay, dilapidation and vermin infestation which could result in a serious hazard to the health and safety of the occupants and to the public.
One which contains significant structural damage to the extent that it is a physical hazard to the occupant or to the public.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit found to have an immediate health hazard shall be condemned as unfit for human habitation and shall be so designated as a health hazard and shall be placarded by the Local Health Officer.
Any dwelling or dwelling unit condemned as unfit for human habitation and so designated and placarded by the Local Health Officer shall be vacated within a reasonable time as specified by the Local Health Officer. No dwelling or dwelling unit which has been condemned and placarded as unfit for human habitation shall again be used for human habitation until written approval is secured by the Local Health Officer upon reinspecting the dwelling or dwelling unit. The Local Health Officer at this time shall remove such placard whenever the hazardous condition or situation upon which the condemnation and placarding were based has been eliminated.
The following are human health hazards and public nuisances:
Unburied carcasses. Carcasses of animals, bird or fowl not intended for human consumption or food which are not buried or otherwise disposed of in a sanitary manner within the time period specified by the Health Officer or as required by § 95.50, Wis. Stats.
Manure. Accumulations of the bodily waste from all domestic animals and fowl that are handled, stored or disposed of in a manner that creates a health hazard.
Air pollution. The escape of smoke, soot, cinders, noxious acids, fumes, gases, fly ash, industrial dust or any other atmospheric pollutants within the county that creates noncompliance with Chapter NR 445 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Noxious odors. Any negligent use of property, substances or things within the county emitting or causing any foul, offensive, noisome, noxious or disagreeable odor or stenches extremely repulsive to the physical senses of ordinary persons or a neighborhood as a whole.
Solid waste. Any solid waste which is stored or disposed of in a manner which may pose a human health hazard as defined above.
Food or breeding places for vermin, insects, etc. Accumulations of decayed animal or vegetable matter, trash, rubbish, garbage, rotting lumber, bedding, packing material, scrap metal, animal and human fecal matter or any substance in which flies, mosquitoes, disease-carrying insects, rats or other vermin can breed, live, nest or seek shelter, except private compost piles.
Toxic and hazardous materials or waste. Any chemical and/or biological material or waste that is stored, used or disposed of in such quantity or manner that it is, or has the potential to create, a public health hazard.
Wastewater. The presence of wastewater or sewage effluent from buildings on the ground surface, backing up into the building and/or running into a surface water body, caused by a damaged, malfunctioning, improperly constructed or inadequately maintained private sewage system or private sewage lateral; also any wastewater or sewage effluent that is not handled and disposed of in compliance with all applicable county and state codes.
Surface water pollution. The pollution of any stream, lake or other body of surface water within the county that creates noncompliance with Chapters NR 102 and NR 103 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Groundwater pollution. Addition of any chemical and/or biological substance that would cause groundwater to be unpalatable or unfit for human consumption. These substances include but are not limited to the chemical and/or biological substances listed in Chapter NR 809 of the Wisconsin Administrative Code.
Holes or openings. Any hole or opening caused by an improperly abandoned cistern, septic tank, dug well or any other improperly abandoned, barricaded or covered up excavation.
Nonfunctioning and maintenance of public building fixtures.
Unhealthy or unsanitary condition. Any condition or situation which renders a structure or any part thereof unsanitary, unhealthy and unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use or renders any property unsanitary or unhealthy.
No owner or occupant shall allow any other human health hazard or public health nuisance as determined by the Local Health Officer to exist in any dwelling or dwelling unit.
The Local Health Officer or designated representative shall investigate all potential public nuisances and human health hazards and shall determine whether or not they exist.
Abatement, correction and enforcement of public nuisances and human health hazards will be in accord with this chapter.
Written order. When a violation of this chapter is encountered, the Local Health Officer or other county official shall issue the violator a written order. This order shall specify the following:
The nature of the violation and the steps needed to abate and/or correct it.
The time period in which the violation must be corrected and/or abated.
The penalty or penalties the violator would be subject to if the apparent violation is not abated and/or corrected within the cited time period.
Exceptions to written order. In extreme cases where a violation poses an immediate health hazard as determined by the Local Health Officer or other county official or in the case of repeating occurrences of the same violation by the same person, the action(s) specified in Subsection C below may be initiated immediately.
Noncompliance with order.
If a person does not comply with a written order from the Local Health Officer or other county official, the person may be subject to one or more of the following actions and/or penalties:
The issuance of a citation.
Commencement of legal action against the person seeking a court-imposed forfeiture and/or imprisonment.
Commencement of legal action against the person seeking an injunction to abate the violation and/or correct the damage created by the violation.
Any other action authorized by this chapter or by other applicable laws as deemed necessary by the Local Health Officer or other county official.
The initiation of one action or penalty under this section does not exempt the apparent violator from any additional actions and/or penalties.
Ordered abatement of certain nuisances and health hazards. Where a nuisance or human health hazard as defined in this chapter and § 254.59(1), Wis. Stats., is encountered which may require ordered abatement and/or correction as per § 254.59, Wis. Stats., the Local Health Officer or other county official shall serve upon the responsible person a written order under Subsection A(1) above. A copy of this order shall be forwarded to the local governing body. If the nuisance is not abated and/or corrected within the time period specified in the order, the local governing body shall enter upon the property and abate and/or correct the nuisance or cause it to be abated and/or corrected. If the local governing body fails to abate and/or correct the nuisance or cause it to be abated and/or corrected, the county may enter on the property and do the same. The cost of such abatement and/or correction is to be recovered by the local governing body, and if not the local governing body the county, either directly from the responsible person or as a special tax assessment on the property as per § 254.59(2), Wis. Stats.
Penalties. In case any person is convicted of violating any of the provisions of this chapter, judgment shall be entered for a forfeiture in the amount set by the County Board, plus court costs. In default of payment of the judgment the person shall be imprisoned in the county jail until such time as the forfeiture and costs are paid, but not to exceed 90 days. Each day that a violation continues shall be considered as a separate offense.
Initiation of legal action. Legal action shall be initiated against a violator as requested by the Local Health Officer or other county official. The County Corporation Counsel shall be responsible for all cases where an injunction to correct and/or abate a violation is being sought and for all cases where a court-imposed forfeiture is being sought.
[Amended 7-27-2010 by Ord. No. 10-03]