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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Illegal dumping: How to issue a complaint

How to file a complaint
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.

What is illegal dumping?
Illegal dumping is the dumping 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.

Why is illegal dumping a public health problem?
  • 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.

See also:

What are the laws about illegal dumping?

Unlawful dumping is enforced by Public Health - Seattle & King County through the code of the King County Board of Health Title 10. Unlawful dumping is addressed in chapter 10.11.

What can be done about illegal dumping?
  • 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.

  • City of Seattle residents should report illegal dumping on public property online at illegal dumping hotline and website or by calling 206-684-7587. Public property includes city roadsides, parks, open streets and paved alleys.

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

  • City of Seattle residents can report over flowing garbage cans and dumpsters to Seattle Public Utilities. Commercial property dumpster and overflowing garbage complaints can be reported to 206-684-4166. Residential or apartment dumpster or overflowing garbage can complaints can be reported to 206-684-7665.

  • Note: within the City of Seattle, if you have rodent issues which are associated with an illegal illegal dumping, these should be reported to Public Health-Seattle & King County.