Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who looks after town water quality?

A. Local Councils or Local Water Utilities regularly test town water supplies to ensure that the water meets the requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. The Environmental Health Officers at the Public Health Unit regularly review the results of the water tests and liaise with Councils and Authorities to ensure any problems are fixed promptly.

Q. How do I get information about rainwater tanks?

A. The Australian Department of Health has information on its website about rainwater tanks. address,  You can also call an Environmental Health Officer on (02) 6620 7500 (Lismore office) or (02) 6588 2750 (Port Macquarie office).

Q. I have a complaint about food, who do I call?

A. If the food is made in your town, then call your Local Council Environmental Health Officer. If the food is made outside of your Council area, then contact the NSW Food Authority on 1300 552 406 or on email – Alternatively you can complete an online food authority form.

Q. I think I’ve got food poisoning, what should I do?

A. You should seek the assistance of a medical practitioner if symptoms persist. You can call the Public Health Unit and you will be asked questions about the food and drink you have consumed over the last two or three days. If there is any leftover food that may be suspected as the cause of the food poisoning, it is best to keep it in the fridge in case it is needed for testing. You may also ask your Doctor about collecting a sample to identify the cause.

Q. I think I saw a shop sell cigarettes to a person under the age of 18 years, what should I do?

A. Call the Environmental Health Officers at your nearest Public Health Unit and they will investigate the matter. The Tobacco Sales to Minors Program aims to control the sale of tobacco products to people under the age of 18. Some shop keepers and salespeople have received warnings, and over 100 shops across NSW have been prosecuted for selling cigarettes to minors.

Q. I think I know about a pollution problem, who should I call?

A. The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), a part of the Office of Environment and Heritage, deals with large industrial contamination or major contaminated sites of significant risk of harming the environment. Local Councils deal with all other types of environmental contamination or pollution.

Q. I’ve found a needle and syringe in a public place, what should I do?

A. Call the NSW Health Needle Clean Up Hotline on 1800 633 353. The Hotline will arrange someone from the appropriate authority to collect the needle and syringe or will provide advice to the caller to ensure the safe storage and disposal of the needle and syringe.