Building a restaurant

What you need to know

When you are proposing to construct a new restaurant building, start a restaurant in a vacant tenant space, or establish a restaurant in an existing tenant space; your wastewater discharge may be different from the current reserved capacity buy-in and may require additional capacity buy-in for your restaurant to be accommodated in the District's piping transport system and for processing at the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility.

In addition, the District wants to ensure access to your building lower sewer lateral meets standards in order for District Operations staff to perform maintenance activities; your property is protected from backups in the District sanitary sewer system; any disconnection and/or connection to the District sanitary sewer system is properly being made.



Visit Building Department

Visit your local jurisdiction building department to apply for a building permit and understand your grease control device requirements.


Seek County of Santa Clara Environmental Health Department Approval

Submit your plan to County of Santa Clara Environmental Health Department to ensure your food service establishment meets minimum health and safety standards while ensuring the functionality, flow, and ease of use for your customers and your staff.


Describe Your Work & District Reviews Your Work

Describe your proposed work and submit any and all plan sets showing your proposed work using the form below. The District will review your plan and menu to ensure plumbing fixtures that have the potential to discharge fats, oils, and/or grease are connected to your grease control device; and, if any, your grease interceptor is in a location that provides adequate access for maintenance and inspection.

Food Service Establishment (FSE) Information Plan Review Form


  1. 1. Facility Information
  2. 2. Facility Contact Information
  3. 3. Submittal Contact Information
  4. 4. Files
  • Facility Information

    1. Is food prepared from scratch?*
    2. What type of dishes will be used to serve food?*


    District Determines Your Requirements

    If the District determines a District permit is required, your work will be analyzed and a field investigation may need to be performed to outline your District requirements. Typically 10 to 15 business days (after receiving all required scope of work information) are needed to issue a District permit.


    Pay Fee & Issue Permit

    When you are informed a permit is ready for you, make a permit appointment with this form. Pay by check or cash (based on our Fees and Charges Schedule (PDF) and see examples below) and give your issued District permit copy to your agency building permit staff.


    Ensure Your District Requirements Are Met

    Install all required infrastructure per your District issued permit handouts. Required property line cleanout shall meet the District standards. Be sure to have underground utilities located before you dig by contacting USA 811 North and follow their 5 Easy Steps (PNG).

    Sample fees to reserve capacity for your restaurant

    Each type of restaurant generates a different quantity of wastewater, and with different characteristics. These different characteristics effect the amount of pollution effect measured by biochemical oxygen demand, number of suspended solids that needs to be removed, and amount of ammonia. Therefore, the fees vary from one restaurant operations to another. The following is a sampling of approximate fees based on a sample square footage and specific examples when changes in business operations occur.

    Usage TypeSample Fee
    Bakery (1,500 square feet)
    Café (1,000 square feet)
    Coffee Shop (1,500 square feet)
    Donut Shop (1,200 square feet)
    Fast Food Restaurant (1,000 square feet)
    Full Service Restaurant (2,300 square feet)

    A new or changed business wastewater discharge must be accommodated in the District's piping transport system and for processing at the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility. The approximate buy-in capacity fees are:

    Fee TypeCafé
    (1,500 Square Feet)
    (1,500 Square Feet)
    Difference / Fee Owed
    District Sewer Connection Fee$11,000less  $4,000$7,000
    Treatment Plan Capacity Fee$6,000less  $2,000$4,000
    Total Fee$17,000less  $6,000$11,000

    A permit processing fee will vary depending if there is an existing building sewer lateral serving your property or if a new building sewer lateral needs to be constructed, and can range from $250 to $800 to recover the cost of investigating your field conditions and/or ensuring your construction meets District requirements.

    The rate used to calculate your Sewer Service and Use Charge (billed annually on your property tax bill) may change based on your business operations.