Texas Health and Safety Code

As effective September 1, 2019

Subchapter B

Sec. 341.011: Nuisance

Each of the following is a public health nuisance:

(1) a condition or place that is a breeding place for flies and that is in a populous area;

(2) spoiled or diseased meats intended for human consumption;

(3) a restaurant, food market, bakery, other place of business, or vehicle in which food is prepared, packed, stored, transported, sold, or served to the public and that is not constantly maintained in a sanitary condition;

(4) a place, condition, or building controlled or operated by a state or local government agency that is not maintained in a sanitary condition;

(5) sewage, human excreta, wastewater, garbage, or other organic wastes deposited, stored, discharged, or exposed in such a way as to be a potential instrument or medium in disease transmission to a person or between persons;

(6) a vehicle or container that is used to transport garbage, human excreta, or other organic material and that is defective and allows leakage or spilling of contents;

(7) a collection of water in which mosquitoes are breeding in the limits of a municipality or a collection of water that is a breeding area for mosquitoes that can transmit diseases regardless of the collection's location other than a location or property where activities meeting the definition of Section 11.002(12)(A), Water Code, occur;

(8) a condition that may be proven to injuriously affect the public health and that may directly or indirectly result from the operations of a bone boiling or fat rendering plant, tallow or soap works, or other similar establishment;

(9) a place or condition harboring rats in a populous area;

(10) the presence of ectoparasites, including bedbugs, lice, and mites, suspected to be disease carriers in a place in which sleeping accommodations are offered to the public;

(11) the maintenance of an open surface privy or an overflowing septic tank so that the contents may be accessible to flies; and

(12) an object, place, or condition that is a possible and probable medium of disease transmission to or between humans.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 130, Sec. 1, eff. May 27, 2003.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 346 (H.B. 819), Sec. 1, eff. June 9, 2015.

Sec. 341.012: Abatement of Nuisance

(a) A person shall abate a public health nuisance existing in or on a place the person possesses as soon as the person knows that the nuisance exists.

(b) A local health authority who receives information and proof that a public health nuisance exists in the local health authority's jurisdiction shall issue a written notice ordering the abatement of the nuisance to any person responsible for the nuisance. The local health authority shall at the same time send a copy of the notice to the local municipal, county, or district attorney.

(c) The notice must specify the nature of the public health nuisance and designate a reasonable time within which the nuisance must be abated.

(d) If the public health nuisance is not abated within the time specified by the notice, the local health authority shall notify the prosecuting attorney who received the copy of the original notice. The prosecuting attorney:

(1) shall immediately institute proceedings to abate the public health nuisance; or

(2) request the attorney general to institute the proceedings or provide assistance in the prosecution of the proceedings, including participation as an assistant prosecutor when appointed by the prosecuting attorney.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989. Amended by Acts 1993, 73rd Leg., ch. 648, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1993.

Sec. 341.013: Garbage, Refuse, and Other Waste

(a) Premises occupied or used as residences or for business or pleasure shall be kept in a sanitary condition.

(b) Kitchen waste, laundry waste, or sewage may not be allowed to accumulate in, discharge into, or flow into a public place, gutter, street, or highway.

(c) Waste products, offal, polluting material, spent chemicals, liquors, brines, garbage, rubbish, refuse, used tires, or other waste of any kind may not be stored, deposited, or disposed of in a manner that may cause the pollution of the surrounding land, the contamination of groundwater or surface water, or the breeding of insects or rodents.

(d) A person using or permitting the use of land as a public dump shall provide for the covering or incineration of all animal or vegetable matter deposited on the land and for the disposition of other waste materials and rubbish to eliminate the possibility that those materials and rubbish might be a breeding place for insects or rodents.

(e) A person may not permit vacant or abandoned property owned or controlled by the person to be in a condition that will create a public health nuisance or other condition prejudicial to the public health.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 341.014: Disposal of Human Excreta

(a) Human excreta in a populous area shall be disposed of through properly managed sewers, treatment tanks, chemical toilets, or privies constructed and maintained in conformity with the department's specifications, or by other methods approved by the department. The disposal system shall be sufficient to prevent the pollution of surface soil, the contamination of a drinking water supply, the infection of flies or cockroaches, or the creation of any other public health nuisance.

(b) Effluent from septic tanks constructed after September 4, 1945, shall be disposed of through:

(1) a subsurface drainage field designed in accordance with good public health engineering practices; or

(2) any other method that does not create a public health nuisance.

(c) A privy may not be constructed within 75 feet of a drinking water well or of a human habitation, other than a habitation to which the privy is appurtenant, without approval by the local health authority or the department. A privy may not be constructed or maintained over an abandoned well or over a stream.

(d) The superstructure and floor surrounding the seat riser and hopper device of a privy constructed and maintained in conformity with the department's specifications shall be kept in a sanitary condition at all times and must have adequate lighting and ventilation.

(e) Material and human excreta removed from a privy vault or from any other place shall be handled in a manner that does not create a public health nuisance. The material and human excreta may not be deposited within 300 feet of a highway unless buried or treated in accordance with the instructions of the local health authority or the department.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0860, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 341.015: Sanitation of Ice Plants

(a) A person may not go on the platform covering the tanks in which ice is frozen in an ice factory unless the person is an officer, employee, or other person whose duties require that action.

(b) An employee whose services are required on tanks shall be provided with clean shoes or boots that may not be used for any other purpose.

(c) Ice contaminated with sand, dirt, cinders, lint, or other foreign substance may not be sold or offered for sale for human consumption.

(d) Water used in the manufacturing of ice must be from an approved source and be of a safe quality.

(e) An ice plant operator shall provide sanitary handwashing and toilet facilities for the employees of the plant.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 341.016: Sanitation of Businesses; Occupational Health and Safety

(a) A person may not use or permit to be used in a business, manufacturing establishment, or other place of employment a process, material, or condition known to have a possible adverse effect on the health of the person's employees unless arrangements have been made to maintain the occupational environment in a manner that such injury will not occur.

(b) An industrial establishment shall be continually maintained in a sanitary condition.

(c) The department shall make available to the state's citizens:

(1) current information concerning minimum allowable concentrations of toxic gases; and

(2) environmental standards that relate to the health and safety of the employees of industrial establishments in this state.

(d) The department shall survey industrial establishments to study industrial health and sanitation issues, including water supplies and distribution, waste disposal, and adverse conditions caused by processes that may cause ill health of industrial workers.

(e) The department shall give each surveyed establishment a summary of the studies and findings under Subsection (d) and make necessary recommendations for the adequate protection of the health, safety, and well-being of the workers.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Sec. 341.017: Sanitation Facilities for Railroad Maintenance-of-Way Employees

(a) The executive commissioner shall adopt reasonable rules to require railroads to provide adequate sanitation facilities for railroad maintenance-of-way employees.

(b) The department may sue in a court of competent jurisdiction to compel compliance with a rule adopted under this section.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0861, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 341.018: Rodent Control

(a) A person who possesses an enclosed structure used or operated for public trade and who knows that the structure is infested with rodents shall:

(1) attempt to exterminate the rodents by poisoning, trapping, fumigating, or other appropriate means; and

(2) provide every practical means of eliminating rats in the structure.

(b) A public building that is constructed after September 4, 1945, must incorporate rat-proofing features.

(c) The department shall promote rodent control programs in rat-infested areas and in localities in which typhus fever has appeared.


Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 678, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.

Amended by:

Acts 2015, 84th Leg., R.S., Ch. 1 (S.B. 219), Sec. 3.0862, eff. April 2, 2015.

Sec. 341.019: Mosquito Control on Uninhabited Residential Property

(a) Notwithstanding any other law, a municipality, county, or other local health authority may abate, without notice, a public health nuisance under Section 341.011(7) that:

(1) is located on residential property that is reasonably presumed to be abandoned or that is uninhabited due to foreclosure; and

(2) is an immediate danger to the health, life, or safety of any person.

(b) A public official, agent, or employee charged with the enforcement of health, environmental, or safety laws may enter the premises described by Subsection (a) at a reasonable time to inspect, investigate, or abate the nuisance.

(c) In this section, abatement is limited to the treatment with a mosquito larvicide of stagnant water in which mosquitoes are breeding.

(d) The public official, agent, or employee shall post on the front door of the residence a notice stating:

(1) the identity of the treating authority;

(2) the purpose and date of the treatment;

(3) a description of the areas of the property treated with larvicide;

(4) the type of larvicide used; and

(5) any known risks of the larvicide to humans or animals.


Added by Acts 2013, 83rd Leg., R.S., Ch. 16 (S.B. 186), Sec. 1, eff. May 10, 2013.