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Illegal dumping of garbage on side of road

About illegal dumping in King County

Illegal dumping is the dumping of solid waste onto the surface of the ground or into the waters of the state, except at a permitted disposal site. It's known in the regulations as "unlawful" dumping. Solid waste includes garbage, rubbish, abandoned vehicles or parts, demolition and construction waste, recyclable materials, etc.

For King County residents outside of Seattle:
  • To file a complaint about rat infestations, rats in toilets or rats associated with illegal dumping of garbage and solid waste you can call us at 206-263-9566 or write us through Environmental Health's online services portal. Additional information is at www.kingcounty.gov/rats

  • Report incidents of illegal dumping within King County to the Illegal Dumping Hotline at 206-296-7483, open 24/7 and they will assign to the appropriate jurisdiction. In the case of abandoned vehicles, the complaint will be referred to the appropriate agency.

  • When you call Public Health during the day, your complaint will be assigned to an Health and Environmental Investigator who will contact you in the process of resolving the issue. Call 206-263-9566. If you call after hours you may leave a message.
For City of Seattle residents:
  • Seattle residents can report overflowing garbage cans and large bins to Seattle Public Utilities.
    • Commercial property bins and overflowing garbage complaints can be reported to 206-684-4166.
    • Residential or apartment bins or overflowing garbage can complaints can be reported to 206-684-7665.

  • Seattle residents should report illegal dumping on public property with Seattle Public Utilities or by calling 206-684-7587. Public property includes city roadsides, parks, open streets and paved alleys.

  • Seattle residents can report illegal dumping on private property to the Seattle Dept. of Planning and Development or by calling 206-615-0808

  • Seattle residents can report rodent issues associated with an illegal dumping at www.kingcounty.gov/rats.
  • Decomposing garbage and other solid waste can provide food and habitat for rats, other rodents and other disease vectors. A vector is an insect or animal that has the potential to carry disease.

  • Hazardous materials illegally dumped can cause direct effects on people's health, and can get into the water supply and create downstream health effects on people and the environment.

  • Illegal dumping creates eyesores on our streets, reducing our quality of life, property values, and a feeling of safety and well-being in our communities.
Where does it go?
Local dump/transfer stations:
Solid waste permit applications

For assistance, call Environmental Health Services at 206-263-9566 (phones answered M-F, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm):


Waste Characterization Program

To request a clearance, download the Waste Characterization Form (PDF). Fill in the blanks of the form then email it to wc@kingcounty.gov or print it and mail it in to Environmental Health Division, Solid Waste - Waste Characterization , 401 5th Avenue, Suite 1100, Seattle, WA 98104.

Public Health's Waste Characterization Program reviews questionable waste generated in King County that is destined for disposal as municipal solid waste. The goal of the program is to keep dangerous wastes out of the solid waste stream. They determine whether a waste is dangerous or not by using information supplied by the generator, from lab analyses, MSDS's and other available information. Typical wastes reviewed include contaminated soil, sludges, expired or off-spec products and chemicals, filters, blasting/grinding wastes, empty containers, and manufacturing wastes.

The dangerous waste regulations, WAC 173-303, are the primary criteria used to designate wastes. However, the solid waste facilities clearances are issued for have policies excluding certain wastes or requiring special handling. An example of this is a dusty waste that would require special handling to minimize exposure to the workers and the public.

Waste characterization staff assist generators with profiling their waste and determining if the waste can be disposed of in the garbage. For some wastes staff will be able to provide other options such as treatment, recycling or reuse. Generators should complete the two page Waste Clearance Application and submit it to the Health Department with the appropriate data, via email, fax or the postal service. For questions on testing requirements, or further clarification, call them at 206-263-8528 or email them to wc@kingcounty.gov.

  • Dusty materials
    Dusty materials include sheetrock dust, silicone dust, sawdust, fiberglass dust, or any other waste which becomes airborne when unloaded. The King County Division of Solid Waste has issued the following guidelines for disposal of dusty materials:
    • Loads delivered to Cedar Hills must be accompanied by a Waste Clearance Decision Form
    • For additional information, call the Waste Characterization phone number at 206-296-4633.

  • Fuel tanks
    • Fuel tanks are accepted for disposal only at the Cedar Hills landfill and must be accompanied by a Waste Clearance Decision Form. For additional information, call the Waste Characterization phone number at 206-296-4633.
    • Tanks which once held acutely hazardous waste must be accompanied by a receipt or certification from a hazardous waste handler stating that the tank has been cleaned.
    • Before disposal, tanks must be emptied and both ends removed or punctured with several holes.
  • Household hazardous waste includes: cleaning agents, pesticides, solvents, motor fuels, crankcase oil, oil-based paints, wood preservatives, banned or restricted-use pesticides, and chemicals used for a) home repair and remodeling, b) auto, boat, and equipment maintenance, and c) hobby and recreational use.

  • Use up hazardous household products completely before disposing of empty containers.

  • If materials cannot be used, dispose of them at a designated household hazardous waste facility such as the Wastemobile, the Factoria Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off Facility or the Seattle Hazardous Waste Facilities. Call the Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692, Monday through Friday except holidays, between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. for information on these facilities.

  • Visit the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program website for additional disposal options.
  • Dispose of human fecal waste in the public sanitary sewer or in an approved on-site sewage disposal system.
  • Disposable diapers, adult incontinence products, and other materials contaminated with feces may be thrown out in the regular garbage if they are placed in a sealed plastic bag.

The following studies were conducted at the request of the King County Council and Seattle Mayor's Office to determine if public health problems existed at predetermined abandoned landfill sites: