Do I Need a Permit for a Dumpster Rental in Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh is one of Pennsylvania’s larger cities, so keeping it clean and tidy is a concern for residents. Proper waste disposal ranks highly on the list of concerns for many Pittsburgh locals, so it’s no wonder that many of them consider dumpster rental when working on their homes, renovating their businesses, or planning special events. However, proper waste disposal is often a more complicated task than many people in Pittsburgh realize, and it isn’t necessarily as simple as just renting a dumpster. You’ll need to follow several official protocols if you want to rent a dumpster in Pittsburgh legally and responsibly.

One of the most common questions Pittsburgh residents have when considering dumpster rentals is whether they will need to obtain a permit first. Answering this question is more complicated than providing a simple “yes” or “no” answer, so before you make plans to rent dumpsters in Pittsburgh you should familiarize yourself with some of the regulations that govern them. Such knowledge can ensure that you follow the correct steps before renting a dumpster in the city, and avoid any penalties for breaking the rules.

Why should I get a Permit for Dumpster Rental in Pittsburgh?Dumpster Rental Pittsburgh

The first thing you should know about getting a permit for a dumpster rental in Pittsburgh is whether you need one. Many people assume that this simple question will have a simple answer, but the truth is more complicated than many of them realize. The conditions for dumpster rentals in Pittsburgh change depending on a specific criterion, which can be measured to determine whether you will require a permit.

The most important factor in determining whether you’ll need a permit is the location where you plan to place the dumpster itself. According to the city, you will require a permit from the municipal Department of Public Works before any dumpster, barricade, piece of material scaffolding or any other equipment can block a public right-of-way. If that definition seems confusing to you, don’t worry—you probably aren’t alone. That’s why it’s important to understand what a right-of-way is and whether the term applies to the area where you’re thinking about renting a dumpster.

Right-of-way (or ROW) is technically a term used to describe a given individual’s ability to move over a piece of land—typically en-route from one destination to another. Colloquially, the term ROW is also used to describe the piece of land in question, especially when the rights to traverse it belong to the public (i.e. a public right-of-way). Typical examples of ROW in cities include roads, bridges, and intersections—infrastructure built by the state and paid for by the public. However, it is important to familiarize yourself with all kinds of ROW if you want to make sure you can rent a dumpster without a permit in the city of Pittsburgh.

The examples given above are far from the only kinds of ROW found in Pittsburgh. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you can rent a dumpster without first acquiring a permit just because you aren’t going to place it in the middle of the street. Public trails and footpaths also count as ROW, and therefore may not be obstructed with a dumpster unless you first obtain a permit.

Rails and key areas for public transport also count as ROW, which probably seems obvious—but there’s an important reason for mentioning it. Remember that the rules governing these facilities also extend to parking lots and other areas that support the main infrastructure, so think twice before renting a dumpster for a lot near any station or track, even if it does not appear to be in use at first glance. The more research you do, the more awareness you’ll have of whether the area you want to rent a dumpster for is considered a ROW by city authorities. Remember also that ROWs can be designated by nearby features that are not visually apparent, like canals and utility lines.

The rule of thumb is to check thoroughly before renting a dumpster for any piece of land that you do not own and know well. For example, if you are renting a dumpster for your backyard during a home renovation project and are confident that the area where you want to place it is nowhere near utility lines that could affect other properties, there is a good chance you can rent the dumpster without getting a permit first. In most other cases though, it is better to at least inquire with the Public Works Permits Office before proceeding without one. They can be reached by phone at (412) 255-2370.

How to Obtain a Permit for a Dumpster Rental in Pittsburgh

The good news is that the city of Pittsburgh has recently implemented several measures aimed at making it easy to secure permits for dumpster rentals. Because permits are so often required, the city has taken steps to modernize the process of obtaining them. These measures include expanding the number of payment options available for permit seekers so that applying for them in person will be a swifter and more convenient task.

Residents of Pittsburgh who wish to apply for dumpster rental permits must visit the Department of Public Works Permit Counter. This office is located at 611 Second Avenue and receives applications over the counter. Applicants will be asked to pay a fee when submitting their application, and wait for approval on the spot. Note that different fees apply depending on the length of time you intend to keep the dumpster in its intended location, and how you will use the dumpster.

Residential applicants will be asked to pay a fee of $25.00 for every week the dumpster is present on a ROW, while commercial applicants have a choice: they can either pay $100.00 per month or $375.00 per year. Due to recent improvements by the city, these fees are now payable via most major credit cards. Please note, however, that the Department of Public Works reserves the right to deny a permit if the placement of the dumpster poses a danger or major inconveniences to the public or important operations in the area. It is crucial that you think about the impact your dumpster may have on the surrounding community before applying if you want to maximize your chances of being approved.

Consequences of Not Acquiring a Permit

There are implications for renting a dumpster or doing work in Pittsburgh without first obtaining the necessary permits. In most cases, you will receive a fine. Since these fines almost always exceed the cost of obtaining a permit by large amounts, it is always a better idea to simply make sure you are following city regulations and apply for the permit you need before renting a dumpster. However, it is important to realize that repeat violations can incur more severe penalties.

Final Thoughts

There is no consistent short answer for whether you will need a permit before pursuing dumpster rental in Pittsburgh. That said though, a permit is required more often than not. If you do not intend to apply for a permit, make sure you research the area you plan to place your rental dumpster extremely carefully before acquiring it. In general, it is safer and smarter to eliminate the risk of a fine or steeper punishments by applying for a permit whenever you are in doubt. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it’s easier to keep your property clean when you follow the correct regulations. For more information on dumpster rentals in Pittsburgh, connect with us here at Junk King.

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