Obtaining a dumpster permit is one of the potential requirements of renting a roll-off dumpster. This is done by contacting the proper department at your local City Hall. In the Internet age, this is easier than ever, with many municipalities allowing you to obtain a permit online or over the phone.
This quick guide will cover all aspects associated with obtaining a dumpster permit, including how to determine if you need one, dumpster permit costs, and the steps necessary to secure a permit.
READ FIRST: Keep in mind that dumpster permitting requirements vary depending on the location. Check with your local government entity (learn more below) in charge of permits. Local dumpster rental haulers are also an excellent source of information: Find waste haulers near you.
Will I need a dumpster permit?
Not in all cases...
NO: If the dumpster is to be placed on your driveway or somewhere on your personal property, a dumpster permit is likely not necessary.
YES: When having the dumpster placed on a city street, alley, sidewalk, or another public right-of-way, you will need to get a permit from the city.
The government department to call is the Public Works, Engineering, or Building Department. Get this information at the city’s website, or call the main line if you aren’t sure which department handles dumpster permits.
Some local governments do not reference “dumpster permits” and instead may call them “right-of-way permits,” “road occupancy permits," etc. If you can’t find information about “dumpster permits” at the city website, give them a call to find the information you need.
RELATED: Do I Need a Dumpster Permit?
Permit requirements vary
It’s important to do your due diligence prior to renting a dumpster because rules and regulations vary by city. Your dumpster rental provider is a great source of information in this regard.
A few examples of how dumpster permit requirements vary by location:
- New Orleans, LA – A dumpster permit is required if the container will be placed in front of the house in public view. (via NOLA.gov)
- Denver, CO – Dumpster permits are required if the container is placed in the public right-of-way. The permit must be obtained by the dumpster rental company, not the customer (via Denvergov.org).
- Boston, MA – A Street Occupancy Permit is required when placing dumpsters in the public right-of-way. Fees are based on the square footage of public space the dumpster sits on (via Boston.gov)
- San Diego, CA – A permit is required if the dumpster is placed in the public right-of-way. As of 2018, this fee is $73. Flashing barricades are required on each end of the dumpster (via SanDiego.gov)
As you can see, the requirements are different based on the city’s rules and regulations. Be thorough in reading through laws so you can avoid potential fines for not following the specific rules.
For example, cities often require the permit be fixed to the dumpster itself in plain view. Many cities also require that the dumpster is placed a specific distance away from fire hydrants, bus stops, and public utilities. Another common requirement is having to place cones or some sort of warning sign/barricade on either side of the dumpster when placed on the street.
Dumpster permit cost
The cost of a dumpster permit varies but oftentimes falls between $10 and $25 per week. Of course, your city may charge less or more, so be sure to check with the office in charge of granting permits.
Daily, weekly, monthly or annual fees are common. Choose the fee structure that coincides best with your rental period. For instance, if you have a 7-day rental duration, purchase a 7-day dumpster permit.
Not following the city’s rules and regulations governing dumpster use in the public right-of-way will subject you to fines. Fines can cost $200+ per day in some jurisdictions, and if the offense is not addressed, repeated fines will increase and the penalties will become more severe.
Abide by the rules and regulations, and be prompt in filling your dumpster. These are the best ways to avoid any risk of getting fined by the city.
How to obtain a dumpster permit
Getting a dumpster permit is a simple process in most jurisdictions. In fact, some cities require the dumpster rental company to pull the permits for the customer.
Even in cities that don’t require this, the dumpster provider can be a helpful source of information when it comes to pulling dumpster permits.
STEP 1: Ask the dumpster rental company if a permit is necessary for your case. If the dumpster is to be placed in the public right-of-way, a permit is required.
If the dumpster rental company handles the permitting requirements, you’re done! If not, move to the next step.
STEP 2: Contact your local city hall via phone, online, or in person. Connect with the permitting department, and fill out the dumpster permit form. Many cities offer online dumpster permit form submissions.
- IMPORTANT: It’s not uncommon for the permit approval process to take 3+ days. Plan ahead and schedule the dumpster drop-off accordingly.
STEP 3: Abide by the rules spelled out on the permit form and/or the information communicated to you by the staff at the permitting office and the dumpster rental provider. Contact the dumpster rental provider to ensure all requirements are met and rules are followed.
STEP 4: Once the dumpster is dropped off, fill it up and have it hauled away before the dumpster permit expires. If you need more time, you will need to contact the permitting office and find out how to get an extension. Fees will apply.
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