Monroe County Health Department
901 Illinois Avenue, Suite A      Waterloo, Illinois  62298
Phone: 618.939.3871    Fax: 618.939.4459 
Protecting You and Your Environment

Environmental Health

At our health department we offer the following Environmental Health services:

Preventing Tick Bites on People:

  • Avoid Direct Contact with Ticks: 
    •  Avoid wooded and bushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. 
    • Walk in the center of trails.
  • Repel Ticks with DEET or Permethrin:
    • Use repellents that contain 20 to 30% DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) on exposed skin and clothing for protection that lasts up to several hours. Always follow product instructions. Parents should apply this product to their children, avoiding hands, eyes, and mouth.
    • Use products that contain permethrin on clothing. Treat clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents. It remains protective through several washings.
    • Other repellents registered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be found at .
  • Find and Remove Ticks from Your Body
    • Bathe or shower as soon as possible after coming indoors (preferably within two hours) to wash off and more easily find ticks that are crawling on you.
    • Conduct a full-body tick check using a hand-held or full-length mirrow to view all parts of your body upon return from tick-infested areas. Parens should check their children for ticks under the arms, in and around the ears, inside the belly button, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and especially in their hair.
    • Examine gear and pets. Ticks can ride into the home on clothing and pets, then attach to a person later, so carefully examine pets, coats, and day packs.
    • Tumble clothes in a dryer on high heat for an hour to kill remaining ticks. (Some research suggests that shorter drying times may also be effective, particularly if the clothing is not wet.)

Preventing Tick Bites on Your Pets:

  • Check your pets for ticks daily, especialy after they spend time outdoors.
  • If you find a tick on your dog, remove it right away.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam.
  • Talk to your verterinarian about tickborne diseases in your area.
  • Reduce tick habitat in your yard.
  • Talk with your veterinarian about using tick preventives on your pet.

Preventing Ticks in the Yard:

  • Clear tall grasses and bushes around homes and at the edge of lawns.
  • Place a 3-ft wide barrier of wood chips or gravel between lawns and wooded areas and around patios and play equipment. This will restrict tick migration into recreational areas.
  • Mow the lawn frequently and keep leaves raked.
  • Stack wood neatly and in dry area (discourages rodents that ticks feed on).
  • Keep playground equipment, decks, and patios away from yard edges and trees and place them in a sunny location, if possible.
  • Remove any old furniture, mattresses, or trash from the yard that may give ticks a place to hide.

How to remove a tick:

  1. Use fine-tipped tweezers to grasp the tick as close to the skin's surface as possible.
  2. Pull upward with steady, even pressure. Don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin. If this happens, remove the mouth-parts with tweezers. If you are unable to remove the mouth easily with clean tweezers, leave it alone and let the skin heal.
  3. After removing the tick, thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, an iodine scrub, or soap and water.
  4. Avoid folklore remedies such as "painting" the tick with nail polish or petroleum jelly, or using heat to make the tick detach from the skin. Your goal is to remove the tick as quickly as possible--not waiting for it to detach.

This information was all provided by the CDC. For more information you can go to:

The Monroe County Health Department does NOT test ticks.


Larvicide application for mosquito prevention:

Mosquito larvicide is available to municipalities with standing water problems. Abandoned swimming pools are a large breeding site for mosquitoes. Please notify the health department of any abandoned pools or standing water sites. If your municipality does not have a licensed applicator for the larvicide distribution, please notify the health department at 939-3871 ext.11 for applications.

Extremely wet weather combined with upcoming warming temperatures this spring may spark an increase of mosquito populations throughout the state of Illinois. Mosquitoes can carry viruses that can cause illness. The mosquito becomes infected by feeding on dead, infected birds and may transmit the viruses to humans.

Mosquito information can be found at

Attention municipalities: Dead birds can be collected and tested or the presence of West Nile Virus.

Dead birds may be submitted this year for testing. Birds will be accepted for testing from May 1 to October 1, 2014.

The same rules apply as last year: Decomposed birds (strong odor, eyes deflated or dried, maggots present, or bloated from decomposition gases) will NOT be accepted for testing. No waterfowl, gulls, chickens or larger birds such as vultures or eagles may be submitted. The following birds are acceptable: crows, blue jays, grackles, starling, robins, cardinals, catbirds, mockingbirds, sparrows, finches, swallows and wrens. The Health Department must be notified for pick up as soon as a dead bird is found. Citizens may also bring birds into our office at 901 Illinois Ave, Waterloo; however, they must be bagged and refrigerated/ iced for sanitary reasons.

West Nile information can be found at

Water Well Permits & Closed Loop Well (geothermal well) / Inspections:

In a rural area such as Monroe County, many homes do not have access to a municipal water supply.Our water program exists to ensure that new water wells are constructed according to State code guidelines so that neither your health nor the environment is jeopardized. Before constructing or deepening a water well or a vertical closed loop well system in Monroe County, a permit must be obtained from the Monroe County Health Department. 

Septic Permits/ Inspections:

In a rural area such as Monroe County, many homes do not have access to a municipal sewer system.Our private sewage disposal program exists to ensure that new septic systems are contructed according to State code guidelines so that neither your health nor the environment is jeopardized. Before constructing or repairing a septic system in Monroe County, a permit must be obtained from the Monroe County Health Department.

Contact our office for questions regarding private sewage disposal systems, their maintenance and proper operation. The Monroe County Health Department recommends pumping of septic and aeration tanks every 3 to 5 years for optimal performance. Anonymous complaints may be filed with our department regarding private sewage systems possibly failing and contaminating the environment as well. 

Food Sanitation Program:

The goal of the Food Sanitation Program is to protect citizens from contracting and transmitting food-borne illnesses and to educate food service operators and consumers about safe food handling practices.