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Environmental Health

Helpful Links

San Francisco Health Code:

Article 12A Backflow

Article 12C Alternate Water

12C Rules and Regs (pdf)

SFDPH Fee Schedule

California Recycled Water Codes

Statutes (pdf)

Regulations (pdf)

Other Websites

SFPUC Non-Potable

SFDBI Plumbing

CA Dept Water Resources

Related Documents

Application Packet (pdf)

SFPUC Guidebook (pdf)

Engineering Report Instructions & Template (pdf)

Engineering Report Template (Word Template)

O&M Manual Template (Word Template)

O&M Manual Template (pdf version)

Backflow for SFHC 12C Systems (pdf)

Related Programs

Water Quality Home

Cross Connection Program

Alternate Water Source Systems

Alternate water sources are a critical component to management of our city's water supply. San Francisco Health Code Article 12C governs the collection, treatment, and reuse of rainwater, stormwater, graywater and other alternate water sources for toilet flushing, irrigation and other non-potable uses in commercial, multi-family, mixed-use, and multi-parcel developments.


The permit process is a collaboration among SFDPH Environmental Health Branch, the SFPUC and the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection Plumbing Inspection Division. Together these three agencies provide input and oversight on the design, construction, and operation of alternate water source systems. The permit process from project conceptualization to startup is summarized below. More details are described in the step-by-step guidebook available on the SFPUC website.


SFDPH's Rules and Regulations for Alternate Water Source Systems describe all requirements.

Permit Process and Operational Requirements

A complete application packet contains forms and documents and a checklist for obtaining a permit for an Alternate Water Source system under Article 12C. Please contact if you require any individual forms or documents found in the packet.


  2. Submit a Non-Potable Implementation Plan to SFPUC (district-scale projects only)

  3. Submit the following documents to SFDPH-EH pre-construction of the alternate water system:
    1. Application to Operate an Alternate Water System
    2. Application fee
    3. Engineering report for SFDPH-EH review and approval
    4. Declaration of Healthy and Safe Working Conditions form

  4. Submit an Encroachment Permit Application with SFPW, if applicable

  5. Complete the following for plan review and system construction:
    1. Submit construction documents with system drawings for SFDBI-PID and SFDPH-EH plan check approval (parallel to the DBI Addenda permitting process)
    2. Construct alternate water system

  6. Complete the following for construction Inspections:
    1. Schedule cross-connection testing with the SFPUC Water Quality Division
    2. Submit evidence of satisfactory cross-connection protections and wet testing to SFDPH-EH
    3. Schedule SFDPH-EH onsite construction inspection(s) of system for job card sign-off

  7. Submit the following documents to SFDPH-EH post-construction of the alternate water system:
    1. System Construction Verification letter signed and stamped by a PE
    2. Operations and Maintenance Manual and startup plan
    3. Treatment System Manager Affidavit
    4. Evidence of a contract with a certified laboratory
    5. Copy of Business Registration

  8. SFDPH-EH will issue an operating permit upon completion of all items 1-7.

  9. Operate in Conditional Startup Mode in accordance with all Rules, with approval by SFDPH-EH:
    1. Treatment System Manager to submit routine Data and Monitoring Reports
    2. Operate the system under the conditions of the Conditional Startup Mode

  10. Operate in Final Use Mode in accordance with all Rules, with approval by SFDPH-EH:
    1. Pay annual tax collector renewal license fee
    2. Submit routine Data and Monitoring Reports and Annual Reports
    3. Notify SFDPH-EH of system changes, malfunctions, operator changes, etc.

For questions or additional assistance, please email