The Bureau of Environmental Health protects the health of the citizens of Howard County from diseases and hazards found in the environment. Our role is to identify hazards in the environment that may cause disease, and to develop plans and partnerships to reduce or eliminate those hazards.

Bureau of Environmental Health Programs

  • The Well and Septic Program ensures that all drinking water wells and septic systems installed as part of new construction or renovations are built to function properly and prevent the spread of disease.
  • The Food Protection Program ensures that restaurants, grocery and convenience stores, school cafeterias, temporary and mobile food vendors serve safe food.

  • The Community Hygiene Program is primarily responsible for ensuring that reported animal incidents are evaluated for the risk of rabies, complaints received from citizens are investigated, children that are adopted or under foster care live in healthy homes, aquatic facilities are operated in a safe and sanitary manner. In addition, this Program is also involved in sampling of private drinking water wells, and various other activities.

    Rabies Vaccinations for Your Pets cute-puppy-kitten-web
  • Working with Howard County Animal Control, the Health Department sponsors a Rabies Vaccination Clinic. For more information, call the Bureau of Environmental Health at 410-313-1773 or the Animal Control & Adoption Center at 410-313-2780.

    When: 3rd Thursday of every month
    Where: Howard County Animal Control & Adoption Center
               8576 Davis Road, Columbia, MD 21045
    Cost:   $5.00 per pet (cash or check -payable to Director of Finance)
    Pets: Cats, dogs, ferrets
    Other Info: 
             • Pets must be at least three (3) months old

    • For cats and dogs, you need a copy of the previous rabies vaccine from your veterinarian. This will allow us to document a three (3) year vaccination on your new certificate.  For your ferrett, bring proof of any previous vaccinations that you may have.

    • You may also get a Howard County license for your pet while you are at the Davis Road facility. The license is $6.00 for altered (fixed) pets and $24.00 for those not altered. Proof of altered status is required for license.

    Important! All pets must be on a leash or in a carrier!

    General Forms and Fees

    Health Related Issues Complaint Report- This form is to report any condition that poses a public health hazard i.e.: excessive trash on a property, vermin (rats, rodents) situation, etc.

    • If you believe you have an illness related to eating bad food or food product do not use this form to report a food related complaint. 
    • Call our Bureau of Environmental Health immediately with any food illness complaints at 410- 313-1772. After business hours, leave a message with your callback information.

Food-borne Illnesses
cartoon tomato with bacteria and germs coming at it
Important: If you think you are sick due to eating bad food or food product, contact the Bureau of Environmental Health at 410-313-1772.  After business 

hours, leave a message with your call back information and we will return your call first thing the morning of the following day.

Tanning Facility Program
    The Tanning Facility Program ensures that all county tanning facilities operate in a sanitary manner, properly warn their customers about the dangers of tanning bed use, have trained staff on duty at all times, do not allow minors to use tanning facilities without a doctor's prescription and are properly registered with the Health Department to protect the public health.