Health Officer


FLOODING RESOURCES: The Health Department has compiled information on its website about what to do during and after a flood, including health and safety information about returning to a home or business and cleaning up flooded homes. 

*General Information about flooding can be obtained at the following website:
Vermont Department of Health/ Flooding Resources

Water may not be safe to use for drinking, cooking, or cleaning after a flood. During and after flooding, private water systems (wells or springs) can become contaminated with microorganisms — such as bacteria, sewage, heating oil, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals, and other substances that can cause serious illness. Community members should assume their water is contaminated if floodwater has reached their well or spring. However, free drinking water test kits are available. Call 802-338-4724 to order free drinking water test kits to find out if a well or spring was impacted by floodwater.

*You can find more post-flood drinking water guidance on this page: 
Vermont Department of Health/ Water Testing Kits

RATS: Your Town of Essex and Village of Essex Junction (soon to be City of Essex Junction) Health Officers have been responding to some recent complaints of rats in the Village area.

Our research has revealed, in part, that a major factor attracting rats is the waste food contained within improperly installed composting bins/facilities. Chicken feed has also been identified as a contributing factor.

Rats need food, water and nesting places to survive. Once you take away the food source you have, likely, eliminated the rodent infestation.

We would like to bring your attention to the following educational tools:
* Contact the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) at 802-872-8100 or email "" to obtain pamphlets or information regarding proper composting.
* General Information about rat control can be obtained at the following website: and/or

Informational material is expected to be available within a week at both Town and City libraries and the Town of Essex and City of Essex Junction Municipal Offices.

THIS IS THE SEASON FOR THE BLACKLEGGED TICK: Also known as Deer Ticks.  Please wear proper clothing and check your person after being outside or hiking.   A tick bite could mean Lyme disease. If you suspect a tick bite, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Public should also be aware of Rabies. During the spring season foxes and raccoons are quite active after being holed up for most of the winter. Do not approach a wild animal, especially one acting strangely. Call your local law enforcement to investigate.


Jerry Firkey is the Town Health Officer and, along with other duties, responds to most Village health complaints.  Sharon Kelley is the Deputy Health Officer and, along with miscellaneous duties, responds to complaints located in the Town Outside the Village.  Town Health Officers (THO) are recommended by the Selectboard for approval and appointed by the Commissioner of Health.  Health Officers have the authority investigate and mitigate any potential or existing public health hazard in their town. Each town has a local board of health made up of the town’s Selectboard and the THO. 

The most common items that your Health Officers deal with throughout the course of a year are:

Residential Rental Housing Complaints, including, but not limited to: Lead Paint issues; Animal Bites; Rabies; Septic System failures; Inspection and Testing of swimming areas and pools; Indoor and outdoor air quality. 


Please contact the Essex Police Department (PD) (878-8331) to register a complaint related to Animal Bites.  Other complaints can be called into the PD during evenings or weekends.

During regular business hours you can contact your Health Officers by calling 802-598-0801 (Jerry); and 802-238-5303 (Sharon).  

For more specifics regarding the duties of the Health Officer, see Title 18 V.S.A  § 602a.

Additional duties and functions of the Town Health Officers include:

1. Investigating when information is received about a condition that may be a public health hazard. 

2. Enforcing the provisions of Title 18 and the rules and permits issued by the Health Department. 

3. Preventing, removing, or destroying any public health hazard, or mitigating any significant public health risk in accordance with provisions of Title 18.

 4. Taking necessary steps, in consultation with the Health Department, to enforce all orders issued pursuant to 18 V.S.A. Ch. 3.


Rental Handbook

Tenant Guidance