Trouble with Trash Trucks on H Street

trash truck trouble
Photo by PoPville flickr user Beau Finley

“Dear PoPville,

I am a neighbor on the 1100 block of H street NE and every morning a trash truck from Bates Trucking and Trash Removal number 175 or 176 comes to remove the commercial trash at 420-430 am. The truck is removing the trash from 1118 H Street NE (H&Pizza) who has their dumpsters located on public property without a public space permit. I’ve filed multiple official complaints with DCRA through the Trash Truck Noise Program as well as emailing and calling DCRA but they will not enforce the law in this case. Do you have any other suggestions?”

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31 Comment

  • Have you spoken to the &Pizza folks directly? Always best to start there.

    Based on some Twitter communications during the blizzard and their unshoveled sidewalks, they don’t seem that community friendly, but you could try if you haven’t.

    The next step would be to see if they have a settlement agreement with the local ANC and if they do, you could see if trash pick up is part of it. If it is you could speak with the ANC/ABRA about it.

  • Try contacting the head of DCRA (I think Interim Director Melinda Bolling?) and cc’ing your councilmember.

  • caltrops might help

  • Collection is prohibited between 9pm at 7am. Why not just go out there before you go to bed and slap a padlock on it? Then unlock it at 7 when you wake up. If they’re picking up during legal hours it shouldn’t be a problem.

    • It shouldn’t be the OP’s job to lock up and unlock the dumpster — DCRA ought to be doing ITS job and getting the trash company to comply with the law.

    • Is this true for municipal cans too because whoever picks up the city can right outside my bedroom window between 12am and 1am every night could at least not yell to one another the entire time they’re doing it.

    • That’s news to me. I live in Mt Pleasant and the trash pickup seems to happen all the time between midnight and 4am. It’s the public trash can at the corner of my block. The trash truck is loud as hell and I often hear the trash guys talking very loudly (like over the sound of the truck).

      I didn’t think there was anything that could be done about it so I literally started wearing ear plugs at night.

      • Have you ever noticed how the trucks the District uses as opposed to the private haulers, sound completely different? Louder and oddly more sinister-like when you hear them. I can’t really put my finger on it.

        It’s so weird because when the weather is nice I sleep with my windows open and can hear them going all the way through parts of the neighborhood in the middle of the night. Not just on my street.

    • The rules are different for pickup from public litter cans: “Litter cans are emptied at night, following a daily to three times per week schedule, based on how much trash they receive. Collections are noisy, which is why litter cans are not placed in residential neighborhoods.”
      .
      http://dpw.dc.gov/service/litter-can-collection-and-installation
      .
      BigPuddin, you might try complaining to DCRA about the trash collectors yelling during their late-night pickup.

  • It appears that the DDOT handles these type of permits (temporary or permanent use of public space) and it’s worth a call to Public Space Permit Office: (202) 442-4670.

  • I just lived through this for nearly a year. It is illegal for dumpster trucks to do pickups between 9 pm and 7 am in residential areas – noise ordinance. I filed seven different complaints with DCRA and got zero response. Once I involved my ANC member, I started getting phone updates from DCRA – but then they lost the forms, were waiting on paperwork, had to take the company to court… and they never solved it.

    What did… I found the name and phone number for a VP in the trash truck company and started calling him every morning at 5 AM when I got woken up, threatening to “take it to the press.” (aka Popville) It was a work phone, not cell, so I wasn’t waking him – but he got the idea. I also started tweeting the company. A few days later he had the truck drivers change their schedule.

  • I had a similar (though maybe not identical) situation. I’m in a largely residential zone but with a business parking lot across the street – the lot contains dumpers for several restaurants. My understanding was that trash collection before 7am was illegal, with a possible fine of something like $1,000 per incident. I had great luck emailing the owner of the trash collection company early in the morning (and mentioning the fine) when the truck was there well before 7 am. The results were immediate. Of course, this business seemed to care, the one in your case may not. Good luck!!

  • Public trash cans will get picked up in the middle of the night, which is why DDOT won’t put them in areas zoned only residential. Not sure what the exact commercial zoning designation required is, but they certainly seem to be present away from businesses (at least 1 block from any business)

    • They also don’t want people putting their house trash in them. Which still happens of course, but probably less so than if they were on residential streets.

  • OP here.

    This has been an ongoing problem for about two years. Here’s a seeclickfix from 2014: http://en.seeclickfix.com/issues/1163738-sanitation-enforcement-needed-in-rear

    Trash at points has reached 12 feet high behind H and Pizza. They have made no effort to find a legal location for their dumpsters and cannot and would not be legally able to obtain a public space permit.

    DCRA simply needs to enforce the regulations in this case. I can’t wrap my mind around how DCRA can pay so much attention to a kids tree house but refuses to enforce trash, noise and sanitation standards. Maybe it’s because I’m not a lawyer, rich or politically connected, but I have not been able to reach the right people to fix this issue in the DC government.

    My next stop is the local news.

  • ABRA will enforce it

  • is the dumpster on wheels? put on gloves and push it away from the alley so you dont hear it. evenutally the trash company and the pizza business will start listening to you.

    good luck.

  • If your ANC commissioner isn’t responding, then go to an ANC 6A meeting. http://anc6a.org/committees/ This would probably be transportation and public space or economic development. The next general meeting is Feb. 11.

    I’d also contact Ward 6 Commissioner Charles Allen about it.

  • Contact your council member’s office. They should help get the city agencies to be responsive and help move things along.

  • Good luck with this. Tenleytown Trash is the worst offender in my area – every single night between 3:00am and 5:00am. One thing we are about to do is to put it into the ABRA agreements a requirement that the restaurants have to post, on a big sign (like 3’x4′) near the dumpsters, the actual regulation and the penalty for failing to abide by it, in addition to information about how to file a complaint. One of the big challenges has been the trash crews saying “I didn’t know it wasn’t legal” and the neighbors saying they had no idea they could even file a complaint. We’re hopeful that having these giant signs educating the public, and providing information on how to file a complaint, may improve things. Feel free to steal the idea if you like it!

  • Howdy, neighbors. Thank you so much for for voicing your concerns and feedback, as it only helps us get better. When it comes down to it, we don’t want to suck as neighbors. The last thing we want to do is turn on those who have been supporting our shop since the very beginning. We want to hear you out so please don’t ever hesitate to reach out to connect (at) andpizza.com. I know–sounds like a black hole of an email address, but we read and respond to every note that comes through.

    Thanks,

    Sam
    &pizza Communications Manager

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