“i went to talk to the supervisor and he said because i live in an apartment im not allowed to use the dump”

Photo by PoPville flickr user dullshick

“Dear PoPville,

so the other day i went to the dump as i have many times before. they checked my ID like usual. but this time the guy said i cant use it because there is an apartment number on my address. i went to talk to the supervisor and he said because i live in an apartment im not allowed to use the dump. according to the website it is open to all district residents..is this a new thing?”

50 Comment

  • Get a lawyer. ASAP

    • That may not suffice. I would recommend speaking with at least 2-3 independent lawyers. As ma always said – can’t have too many lawyers!

  • I remember one of my workers running up against that as long ago as 2008, so no, its not new.

  • As long as it’s an apartment IN DC, that makes no sense. I would contact DPW.

  • Just find a friend who has a house to go with you… Problem solved.

  • It’s supposed to be for homeowners. Ridiculous that renters can’t use it, so I’d just tell them that it’s the condo you own.

  • I agree, this is without a doubt a first class DUMP!! However, I recently ran into a problem… I was told by the facility staff that I was no longer able to use the dump as my DC drivers license identified my condo unit as “Apt 3A”. I was told that because I lived in an apartment and didn’t own my property that I would not be allowed to use the facility. The DPW website states that I must be a resident, not a property owner for the right to use the station. In short: My CM, Jim Graham was able to clear up the confusion, the policy is that any DC resident can use Fort Totten Transfer Station for Household Hazardous Waste (e-cycling or shredding) and/or to dump bulk trash. If you are doing self serve you can use the facility, as per William Howland, the Director of the Department of Public Works. So if you’ve recently had a similar problem, here is the solution…..

    • Yeah, except that Brianne Nadeau is less willing/able to get involved in helping constituents like this than Jim Graham was.

      • What does she have to do with this question?? You’re like an Obama hater from the WTOP comments, where everything is his fault.

        • No, that would be PoPville reader Thought. (Well, only sometimes. 😉 )
          She is relevant to this question because:
          – The information on DPW’s website contradicted what DPW’s actual practice was
          – The poster got his/her councilmember to intervene
          – Brianne Nadeau, in my experience and that of many others, is nowhere near as involved/knowledgeable/motivated as her predecessor when it comes to intervening with D.C. executive-branch agencies on an individual constituent’s behalf.
          I voted for Nadeau, but wouldn’t have if I knew that her office would be so weak with regard to constituent services.

    • Facepalm on this part: “I was told by the facility staff that I was no longer able to use the dump as my DC drivers license identified my condo unit as ‘Apt 3A’. I was told that because I lived in an apartment and didn’t own my property that I would not be allowed to use the facility.”

  • They have all kinds of wacky rules – i can’t bring in my own trailer but uhaul trailers are ok? Sounds like some Marion Barry type nonsense.

    • That strange stipulation is to make sure contractors aren’t using the dump for work that they’re getting paid for. They turn you away if you have a pickup with extra rails on it too. Most of those strange rules are to make sure the transfer is only being used by weekend warriors.

      • Ahhh… I wonder if that explains why a house on my block that was split up and turned into condos had (at one point during the construction phase) a U-Haul truck outside filled with clay dirt and rubble.
        I would be highly annoyed if I rented a U-Haul truck and the previous user left it with a fine layer of clay dust all over the storage space.

  • My apartment “is” a dump.
    Ba dump bump, chink.

  • I may be completely off base here – but if I remember correctly, apartment buildings and condos usually contract out separately for their trash pickup, thus relieving DPW of the responsibility of that burden. AND the apartment owner or condo also gets a tax rebate/abatement in exchange. Suggest you contact your property manager for advice, but the supervisor at the dump was probably correct.

    • this sounds right

    • AND (forgot to mention) – if your apartment or condo does get tax relief for contracting out trash pickup, I believe they’re responsible for bulk trash pickup. Our condo has 2 bulk trash pickups each year, and the medium size space where they tell us to dump stuff is piled HIGH (10+ feet) of stuff by the end of the prescribed week.

    • This is true for _pickup_ of bulk trash… but I don’t see any evidence on the DPW website that it holds true for _dropoff_ of residential bulk items at Fort Totten.

  • Hmm. Bulk trash _collection_ is limited to people living in D.C. residential buildings with 3 or fewer units… but I don’t see any indication that the same holds true for dropping off bulk items at the Fort Totten Transfer Station.

  • Lets say you own a house. You pay your taxes. You want bulk pick up to remove an old mattress and a broken down chair. No problem, it gets picked up.
    Lets say you own a condo. You pay your taxes. You want bulk pick up …yeah, tough luck, you gotta drag it to the dump your own self.
    Let’s not get too excited about taxation without representation until we can walk the walk, okay DC Govt?

  • I’ve used out of state id without issue. If there is a policy, it needs to be consistent.

    • ah

      Nothing against you, but that’s pretty unacceptable to allow out-of-state folks (especially if apartment residents can’t use it).

      What’s the point of asking for ID if not even your state matters? I assume they’re not taking names in order to prevent you from dumping nuclear waste or something.

      • why can’t investor owners in DC use dump? that makes no sense. Maybe they want to improve the housing stock or have to deal with discarded crap.

        The irony here is anyone can hire a private hauler that will just take it to the dump on their behalf. The private hauler won’t ask or care where you live or whether or not you own.

        • No, but I believe private haulers have to pay the District for the privilege of using the dump.

        • Residents. It’s for residents. Not landlords. Owner-residents of buildings with fewer than four units. It’s not that hard of a concept, really. That means one household per address. Or should both myself and my landlord, who lives in Maryland, be able to use it?

  • I’d call BS on this. I live in a 4-unit condo building. The rule in DC is that if a building has more than 2 housing units then you are required to hire a private company for your trash service (we use KMG). However, that private company will only collect regular household trash and recycling that fits in the bin. Bulk trash is not included in their service and for them to do it you have to pay extra. After I moved in a few months ago we had a good amount of bulk trash. KMG wanted to charge us something like $100 to take it away. Instead I loaded it in my car, took it to Ft Totten Transfer Station and tossed it in the bin with no problem. As long as your ID is for DC then they shouldn’t be turning you away.

  • This is just so DC…..so freaking Washington DC, SMH.

  • Yeah i was there a week ago and didn’t even have to show my ID to anybody.

  • I wonder if the thought behind this is that homeowners pay taxes therefore get to use the services the taxes cover? Not saying I agree but throwing out a possibility.

    • Condo owners pay taxes, too. And coop owners. And if you are a renter in one of those condo or coop units, the owner is still paying taxes. If you live in a rental apartment, the building owner is paying taxes. Taxes are always paid – it isn’t about taxes. (Not that it is necessarily about something sensible – it appears it isn’t.)

      • And condo owners, and apartment building owners, get a tax break to help pay for private services. It’s really not that hard to figure out.

  • I’ve noticed when I’ve been there that the employees usually don’t ask for my ID… but I assume that’s because I have D.C. license plates.
    It’s a shame that either (1) the Fort Totten employees seem to be misinformed (and not even uniformly so?) as to whether renters can use the dump, or (2) this really IS the policy and DPW has failed to articulate it anywhere on their website or to enforce it uniformly.
    My opinion of DPW overall is mixed, but I’ve always found the employees at Fort Totten to be professional and courteous, and they have their operation running like a well-oiled machine. Considering how many D.C. government subdivisions can’t claim any of the three, it’s particularly impressive.

  • Totally fine with this position. I had to pay a ridiculous amount for my D.C. government garbage cans, which condo owners and renters don’t have to by. I also pay D.C. property tax, which renters don’t pay.

    On a separate note, when I lived in Seattle you paid the city a monthly fee for garbage collection, but you don’t in D.C. which I also find crazy. You paid based on the size of your garbage can, which incentivized you to go small. I am now stuck with ridiculously large can that only needs to be picked up every two weeks even though they come every week.

    • You realize someone is paying property tax for the property, right? It doesn’t just magically evaporate in a cloud of smoke because the unit is rented. And as a renter, you pay the property owner. A portion of your rent is basically taxes. Which is why you can claim a property tax deduction as a renter in DC.

      • Oh is that what property taxes are???? I thought they were cookies and milk.

        • You might as well think they are cookies and milk because you don’t really seem to get it and your cans have nothing to do with it. In fact, renters are putting more money into the DC gov’t coffers because rental properties don’t qualify for the homestead exemption and the landlord has to pay income tax on the profit. So you are welcome for the subsidies that renters are providing for you.

    • I thought we moved past exclusive privileges for landowners a century or so ago. A resident is a resident is a resident. I don’t care what you own or how much you pay taxes. Even if I did care, who’s to say I don’t pay more in income tax to DC than you pay in property tax?

  • totten’s open to all district res’s (and half of PG in beater pickups filled with old stoves). if the dude at the gate claims otherwise, tell him he’s a tool, drive past him and dump your sh*t. seriously people, toughen up

  • The 311 website for bulk trash states: “Apartment buildings with four or more units, condominiums, co-ops and other commercial properties must have their bulk items removed by a private, licensed hauler.”


  • It’s not a renter thing but a third-party garbage collection thing (it’s possible to rent a place that already has a DC garbage can or uses the DC collection service). It’s presumed that multi-unit condos and apartments contract their own waste disposal services, thus, they cannot avail themselves of the benefits of the DC Dump. I just ran into this problem when I was trying to dispose of an old mattress. My building was going to charge me >$100 to dispose of it through our independent garbage collection service. Ultimately, I just went on taskrabbit and paid someone $20 to run my mattress to the DC Dump.

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