The Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department hasnoticed an increase in the number of outside picnic tables near permitted foodservice establishments in Ohio County.

The provision of outside picnic tables isconsidered the same as a dining area and therefore the establishment mustprovide public toilet facilities.Anestablishment that has indoor public toilet facilities and provides outsideseating is considered compliant and no additional action is necessary.

However, any permitted food service operation(temporary, mobile, retail or regular food service) which does not have indoorpublic toilet facilities but provides outside seating needs to arrange fortoilet facilities for their customers or remove the outside seating.

The following requirements for toilet facilitiesin food service establishments are taken from the 1995 International PlumbingCode which is part of West Virginia’s State Building Code, 87 CSR 04.Establishment owners should also be advised that their facilities must complywith the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA

  • Minimum number of fixtures: Water Closets – 1 per 75 Lavatories – 1 per 200 Urinals may be substituted for up to 50% of the required number of water closets. If employees are to use the public customer facilities, the maximum number of employees per shift shall be counted in the seating capacity.
  • Separate facilities shall be provided for each sex with the following exceptions:
    • Separate male and female facilities shall not be required in establishments with a total occupant load, including both employees and customers, of 15 or less.
    • If separate employee facilities are provided, and 15 or less people are employed, separate facilities for each sex are not required.
  • The number of fixtures required for each sex shall be based on 50 percent of the total occupant load unless statistical data indicates a different distribution of the sexes.
  • Facilities shall be located not more than one story above or below the space required to be provided with toilet facilities and the path of travel to such facilities shall not exceed a distance of 500 feet.
  • Required facilities shall be free of charge and designated by legible signs for each sex. Where pay facilities are installed, such facilities shall be in excess of the required minimum facilities.

For establishments within the city limits ofWheeling, the health department has been advised that the city would encouragethe use of chemical toilets (port-o-johns) when permanent toilet facilities arenot available.The city and the health departmentwould encourage business to place these types of units in an inconspicuouslocation.

Establishments that choose to use chemicaltoilets (port-o-johns), whether in city limits in within Ohio County, areadvised that these units need to be serviced regularly by the contracted vendoror another licensed pumping service.

More information or if you have questions or concerns about thisissue please contact the health department at (304) 234-3682.