DEH Fee Adjustment 2023

To our valued citizens, customers, and permit holders,

The County of Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health has recently conducted a comprehensive analysis of its fees related to permits and services. Beginning August 2023, you may notice a change in your Environmental Health permit and service fees. While most fees will increase, some fees will either decrease or remain unchanged depending on the average time required to ensure compliance with applicable laws and standards in each program area.

As part of our public health mission, the Department of Environmental Health is charged with the important responsibility to "preserve and improve those environmental conditions that affect our community's health and safety."

Most of our services are mandated by state law, while some standards are adopted by local ordinance. All are designed to ensure that regulated activities comply with minimum standards of hygiene, safety, and hazardous materials management. All these measures contribute to promoting a clean, sanitary, and pollution-free environment in Santa Clara County. The vast majority of our programs do not depend on the County General Fund for support, but are primarily financed through permit and service fees.

We understand that the fees we charge for our services impact our customers. Therefore, we work hard to minimize the cost of our programs, which is how we have kept fee increases to a minimum for many years. We contracted an independent consultant to thoroughly analyze the fee structure and recommend fees in each category that are fair, equitable, defensible, and comparable to fees in similar counties. The analysis also ensures that our fees directly correspond to a single program or service. We believe that the proposed adjustments are equitable and more accurately reflect the time, effort, and service levels provided by the Department.

The new fees were presented to the Board of Supervisors for adoption during their meeting on June 27, 2023, and are scheduled for implementation on August 1, 2023. We realize that the fee adjustments may impact our customers. Please understand that the Department remains committed to finding additional ways to ease the financial burden on businesses by focusing on efficiency, cost reduction, and high-quality environmental health services. Please also note that The Board of Supervisors approved a fee relief effort for small food businesses on March 14, 2023. Permit holders who qualify for the permit fee relief may not see the results of the fee adjustment until 2024 or 2025, depending on the billing cycle of the specific permit.

To determine your proposed new fee amount, please refer to your most recent invoice and locate the "Program Element" code. You will find the same code on the new fee schedule below to determine the new fee amount.

Please visit our website at, contact us by email at [email protected], or call (408)918-3400, if you have questions.

Marilyn C. Underwood, PhD
County of Santa Clara Department of Environmental Health



  • Why are the fees changing? 
    Most DEH fees have not seen an increase in over 10 years.  In order to ensure fairness and equity in government fees, the Department of Environmental Health conducted an extensive study to realign service fees with the actual cost of providing related services and activities. The study showed that DEH was not recovering the full costs for its services, and therefore, fees need to be adjusted to accurately reflect the actual cost of implementing various program areas.
  • Will my fees increase?
    Most fees will be adjusted upward, while others may decrease or remain the same.  Please refer to the Comparative Fee Schedule for detailed information.
  • When will the fees adjustment go into effect? 
    The fees adjustment will become effective August 1st, 2023.  Our courtesy invoices for August billing will go out on July 15th, 2023.
  • What if I have a question?
    Please visit our website at, contact us by email at [email protected], or call (408)918-3400, if you have questions.

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