Supervisors Waive Fees for Modified Health Permits Issued in Poway’s Boil Water Order

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San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors voted Wednesday to help 27 Poway restaurants and businesses that serve food recover from last week’s Boil Water Order by waiving the County’s fee for the Modified Health Permits those facilities were able to use to continue operating.

City of Poway officials issued a Boil Water Order advising all residents and business to stop drinking and using tap water Nov. 30 unless they boiled it to disinfect it, after a storm drain backed up into the city’s drinking water system during rainstorms.

Because California’s health and safety law requires food facilities to have working drinking water, 190 Poway restaurants, markets and licensed care facilities that cook and prepare food were forced to immediately shut down.

However, 27 restaurants were able to receive temporary Modified Health Permits from the County’s Department of Environmental Health to continue operating. The fee for the permits is $459. To be eligible for those permits, food facilities had to demonstrate they could still protect the public health by using alternative methods including, but not limited to: submitting a menu that required little to no food preparation, selling only bottled beverages, using single-use disposable utensils and dishes, and setting up bottled-water handwashing stations for employees.

Poway officials were able to lift the Boil Water Order and restaurants were able to self-reopen Dec. 6 after state-certified water quality tests showed the city’s water system was clean. With the Board’s action Wednesday, the fees for the 27 Modified Health Permits that were issued will be waived.

“Poway’s up and running,” County Board Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said at the Board’s meeting Wednesday. “There is no Boil Water Order, the water is flowing, it is safe, and the restaurants are open.

Jacob said she joined Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and Poway’s City Council in urging the public to help Poway restaurants recover.

“By eating in Poway and giving large tips,” Jacob said. “That could go a long ways.”


Gig Conaughton is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact