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We are responsible for licensing and inspecting restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, bars, liquor stores, hotels, motels, mobile food units, and temporary food stands. We conduct these inspections in 15 counties including Shelby, Pottawattamie, Harrison, Monona, Audubon, Cass, Guthrie, Page, Fremont, Adair, Taylor, Union, Mills, Montgomery, and Adams County.

New or proposed food establishments:

Any new or proposed food establishment owner is responsible for contacting us at 712.755.2609 and providing blueprints/plans for the establishment before approval of any new establishment is given or a new license is issued.

Basic requirements for a food establishment:

The following are our food license applications which must be completed along with the appropriate fee to our office.

  • Food Service application
  • Food Establishment application
  • Hotel/Motel application
  • Home Food application
  • Farmers Market License application
  • Vending machine license application
  • Mobile /Push cart application & guidelines
  • Temporary Food Stand application & guidelines

Our inspection reports of local food establishments are available online at www.dia.iowa.gov.


Prior to the construction or reconstruction of an on-site wastewater treatment and disposal system (septics), the owner is required to obtain a permit from the Environmental Health Office. The size of a system is determined by State Code based on factors such as soil type and the number of bedrooms in the house. In all cases, a soil test known as a percolation test is needed to determine the length of drainfield. Tank size is determined by the number of bedrooms. All systems must receive prior approval before the system is installed.


New wells need to be constructed in a sound manner, and in locations where contaminants are not able to penetrate the groundwater. It is for this reason, that anyone having a well drilled must obtain a permit prior to having the work completed. The well driller also must be a State Certified Well Driller in order for them to work in the State of Iowa.


We administer the Department of Natural Resources water well grant each year to Shelby County. The grant assists property owners with cost-share monies to properly plug abandoned wells. To date, approximately 1300 wells have been plugged in Shelby County.


Our department inspects tanning beds in Shelby, Monona, County of Pottawattamie, and Harrison County.

The state website where information on all tanning regulations and rules is www.idph.iowa.gov.


Our department inspects municipal swimming pools, motel pools, and spas in Shelby, Monona, Pottawattamie, and Harrison County.


Our department inspects tattoo parlors in Shelby, Monona, Pottawattamie, and Harrison County.


All properties that are going to be sold and/or transferred that HAVE a private wastewater treatment system and/or water supply must have these facilities inspected by the Shelby County Environmental Health Department or a certified inspector licensed by the Iowa DNR all deficiencies must be addressed before the sale/transfer takes place. The inspections and statements must be recorded with the Shelby County Recorders Office at the time of legal transfer.


In 2005, Shelby County adopted a radon ordinance that requires all newly constructed homes to include radon resistance features. Our office has radon kits available year-round for a minimal fee and offers handouts and technical advice concerning radon.


We have a contract with the DNR to inspect commercial septic tank pumpers equipment and land disposal sites.


Our department investigates all environmental-related complaints, which may include: illegal dumping, illegal burning, improper dead animal disposal, burning of solid waste, and illegal discharge of sewage.


As agents, we can assist in completing and mailing applications for passports. Please call to make an appointment at 712.755.2609. Below are some sites you can visit to get more information about the U.S. passport application process.

Last updated on Dec 13th, 2021.

Contact Information

Terri Daringer

Shelby County

Interim Director

1411 Industrial Parkway

Harlan, Iowa 51537

Phone: 712.755.2609

Fax: 712.755.2519

Email: tdaringer@shco.org


Office Hours 

Mon - Fri: 8 am - 4:30 pm 

Shelby County Courthouse
612 Court Street
Harlan, Iowa 51537