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Welcome to the City of San José's new digital front door!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Environment - Litter Prevention - EPS

    • Why did San José adopt a Foam Food Container Ordinance to ban expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam food service ware, commonly known as Styrofoam™?

    • Why does the ordinance only focus on EPS foam food service ware, not paper or rigid plastic containers?

    • Who is affected by this ordinance?

    • What types of containers are banned by the ordinance?

    • When did this ordinance go into effect?

    • Who is exempt?

    • How does a restaurant apply for an exemption?

    • What are the alternatives to EPS foam food service ware, and where can I purchase them?

    • Do alternative products cost more than EPS?

    • What is the City doing to enforce existing litter laws?

    • How will this ordinance be enforced?

    • What other options does the City have to deal with litter?

    • Why not just recycle foam food service ware?

    • Have other cities and counties banned EPS foam food service ware?

  • Environment - Recycling & Garbage - Bring Your Own Bag

    • What is the plastic bag ordinance?

    • How does the ordinance affect me as a consumer?

    • Why are bags being prohibited?

    • Are plastic bags a problem for local creeks?

    • Why is there a charge on paper bags?

    • Which stores does the ordinance affect?

    • Why not just offer customers an incentive to bring their own bags?

    • Why not just encourage customers to recycle their plastic bags?

    • Does San José collect plastic bags for recycling at curbside?

    • Why not require biodegradable plastic bags?

    • Will I still be able to purchase plastic garbage bags?

  • Environment – Recycling & Garbage – Catalog Choice

    • What is Catalog Choice?

    • How is Catalog Choice funded?

    • How would catalog and other mailing opt-outs affect businesses?

    • How much does it cost for a Catalog Choice account?

    • What information does Catalog Choice need in order to sign up for an account?

    • Where do I go to sign up for an account?

  • Environment - Recycling & Garbage - Residents

    • What items are allowed in the recycling cart?

    • How can I get rid of large items, such as appliances and furniture?

    • What are my garbage collection and street sweeping days?

    • Why doesn’t San José offer food scraps collection for residents?

    • How much does garbage and recycling collection cost?

    • Are garbage and recycling collected on holidays?

    • Who collects my garbage, recycling, and yard trimmings?

    • How do I recycle used motor oil and filters?

    • How do I request larger or smaller sized carts?

    • How do I get my carts repaired or replaced?

    • What if my garbage, recycling, or yard trimmings collection are missed?

    • Where can I buy extra garbage stickers?

    • Where can I take plastic grocery bags for recycling?

    • What do I do with items that don’t go in the recycling or garbage carts?

    • Are yard trimmings composted in San José?

    • Where can I learn about home composting?

  • Environment - Regional Wastewater Facility - Tours

    • Does the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility offer private group tours?

    • Does the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility offer school tours?

    • Does the San José-Santa Clara Regional Wastewater Facility offer public tours?

  • Environment - Wastewater - Businesses - Dental Offices

    • Where can I find a complete list of Best Practices for dental offices?

    • Why is mercury a wastewater issue?

    • Can wastewater treatment plants solve the mercury issue?

    • Will you sample the discharge or require the dental office to sample?

    • How will you assess compliance if no sampling is performed?

    • What is the penalty for non-compliance?

    • Why is disposing of amalgam in the red bag or garbage a problem?

    • Can chair-side traps and vacuum filters capture all scrap amalgam and particulates?

    • What are the regulators doing about the clean-up of abandoned mines? The majority of the mercury is coming from this source.

    • What is the status of the Dental Amalgam Program?

    • Are dental practices being charged a permit fee like large industries?

    • Which amalgam separators are acceptable for compliance?

    • How much will this new requirement cost?

    • Will you sample the discharge or require the dental office to sample?

  • Environment – Water & Sewer Utilities – Drinking Water – Customer Service

    • Who do I call if I see a broken fire hydrant or possible water main break?

    • How do I shut off water to my house/building?

    • How can I pay my water bill?

    • What part of my water service am I responsible for?

  • Environment – Water & Sewer Utilities – Drinking Water – Water Quality

    • Is there fluoride in my water?

    • Can I get my water tested?

    • Why does my water smell?

    • Why is my water brown?

    • What is my water hardness?

  • Environment – Water & Sewer Utilities – Drinking Water – Water Supply

  • Environment - Water & Sewer Utilities - Stormwater

    • Why are we stenciling the curbs and gutters with a message?

    • Where does the storm drain go?

    • What is the purpose of the storm drain system?

    • Are there any charges or fees associated with the storm drain system?

    • Why do I have to pay an annual Storm Sewer Service Charge?

    • What can you put down the storm drain?

    • Who fixes clogged storm drains?

    • Why shouldn't yard trimmings and soil go into the storm drain? Doesn't rain wash the same kind of material into the creek anyway?

    • Why isn't storm water treated before it goes into the creek?

    • What do I do if I see someone dumping something other than rain water down a storm drain?

  • Environment - Water & Sewer Utilities - Wastewater - Businesses - Restaurants

    • Where do I go for a plan check?

    • Are there any permits or fees involved with the Fats, Oils, and Grease program?

    • Where can I find a complete list of Best Practices for Restaurants?

    • I cannot find my Inspector’s phone number. How do I reach them?

    • My company has a spill. Who should I notify?

    • How often do I need to service my grease control device?

    • Why are waste fats, oils, and grease (FOG) a problem?

    • How does FOG create a sewer blockage?

    • Why are blockages a problem?

    • What products contain FOG?

    • What can be done to prevent sewer blockages?

    • What should I do if I experience a sewer blockage or spill and need to contact the city?

  • Environment - Water Conservation

    • How can I get a rebate for toilets, clothes washers, or other purchases for my home or business?

    • How can I get water saving devices such as low flow showerheads and faucet aerators?

    • How do I report someone wasting water?