Rain And Dumpster Safety

Posted on: 27 November 2015

If you've rented a dumpster for the duration of some remodeling or construction work, and there's rain in the forecast, you need to take a few steps to ensure nothing bad happens to or because of the dumpster. You might think that soft spring rain or mild winter drizzle is nothing, but it can add up and lead to some unpleasant findings. Here are four problems you can encounter when you combine a dumpster -- especially an open one -- and rain, as well as what to do about those problems.


Dumpsters are not exactly watertight. They do hold water, but you can still end up with leaks if the rain falls into the open dumpster and accumulates. Unless you have a brand new dumpster that has never held anything in it, the leaking rain can carry dust and pollutants out of the dumpster and into rivulets headed toward storm drains. The rain can also soak into the ground, potentially carrying the pollutants into the soil and groundwater supply if there's a high water table.


Small animals like stray cats, raccoons, and others often seek shelter once it starts raining, and an open dumpster is a perfect hiding place, especially if there's a lot of paper or cardboard that could serve as a cover. Unfortunately, that leads to living animals being dumped into the main dump truck picking up the trash in the dumpster. The animals can end up biting workers or even dying as the contents of the dumpster are transferred.


Humans, too, seek shelter in dumpsters on cold nights. Transients can hop in, sleep inside, and then leave in the morning. The problem begins if that light drizzle you thought you were going to have suddenly turns into a downpour. If someone is sleeping in the dumpster, the dumpster can fill with rain and lead to drowning.

Rogue Dumpsters

This, admittedly, is not a very common problem, but heavy rains that lead to flooding can occasionally sweep a dumpster away. A dumpster full of concrete rubble might not do this, but it is a risk if the dumpster is empty.

What to Do

When rain is in the forecast, close the dumpster lid when you are not actively throwing items inside. When you and the other workers leave the job site (or go inside your house if this is a DIY remodeling job), close the lid and lock it so that humans can't open the lid and get in. Also, if the dumpster is empty and the forecast calls for very heavy rain and localized flooding, chain the dumpster to something immobile.

If you want help finding a good dumpster lock or a good place to chain the dumpster, talk to a dumpster rental company. They are aware of what can happen when it rains and will be able to help you set up a system for ensuring the dumpster is closed, locked, and secured. Consider contacting the professionals at ESP Dumpsters & Waste Services for more information.