Philadelphia

Unauthorized Fun in a Dumpster Pool Perturbs Philadelphia Bureaucrats

"We're not screwing around, Philly," the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections warns.

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They're screwing around, Philly.
Instagram/rdorothyp

Justin Myers, one of the co-organizers of Philadelphia's annual Cedar Street Block Party, wanted to add a new attraction to go along with the adult-sized slip-and-slide and "Beer Olympics" that were already mainstays of the event. His eureka idea: renting a dumpster and converting it into an above-ground street pool.

Myers told BillyPenn.com a dumpster seemed like the right call for such a conversion because "it's sturdy, it's rentable and I can just give it back," though he says he had to call "about 10 dumpster companies" before he found one not so terrified of a lawsuit that they wouldn't do business with him.

The Cedar Street compatriots power-washed the giant garbage bin, lined the bottom with plywood, and softened the corners with flotation noodles. Then, they commandeered approximately 3,000 gallons of water from a nearby fire hydrant, bringing the water to about waist level for an adult.

No kids were permitted in the dumpster pool. No property damage or injuries were reported. Fun was had.

And last weekend's block party was a hit with at least one neighbor, who told CBSPhilly, "There was diversity of people that were present to do one thing…. HAVE A GOOD TIME. It was at the expense of NO ONE. Nothing but joy that day. Kudos to these two and their whole crew that helped….Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

It should come as no surprise that the City of Philadelphia's Department of Licenses and Inspections is not amused.

In a statement issued Wednesday, a department spokesperson wrote that the "the City's commitment to public health, safety and basic common sense" will preclude them from issuing permits to "swim in a receptacle most often used for waste." The city's reasoning included:

  • First and foremost, this could reduce the amount of water available should a fire break out in that neighborhood. So if you would like to have water available should a fire break out in your home, don't illegally tap a hydrant
  • There is also the potential loss of life by injury due to the hydrant water pushing a small child or even an adult into oncoming traffic.
  • Finally, remember that the pressure of the water coming out of the hydrant is so strong, and so powerful, that if opened too quickly or closed too quickly, it could deliver a jolt to the main of sufficient force that could break the main … and many blocks could lose water service until it is repaired.

Just to let you know that the bureaucrats who wrote this memo are not robots, but indeed denizens of the City of Brotherly Love, they made sure to include this flourish near the end:

We are not screwing around, Philly. The Streets Department will not issue any future block party permits to the 2400 block of Cedar, and officials have contacted the dumpster rental company regarding its failures to obtain the proper closure permits and to take mandatory measures to protect the street during placement of the dumpster.

No more screwing around at your urban block parties, Philadelphia.

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  1. Unauthorized fun is literally the worst kind of fun.

  2. Jesus. Who runs the Philly Streets Department, Wayne Jarvis?

    “I was voted Cirque du Soleil’s worst-ever audience participant.”

    1. Michael: [to Lucille] Oh, um… there’s a big bowl of candy in my office. Why don’t you go eat it?

      Wayne Jarvis: Wayne Jarvis, attorney at law. I have a responsibility to tell you that there is no candy in this office

    2. The City of Philadelphia does not find this buffoonery amusing.

  3. “swim in a receptacle most often used for waste.”

    So… a swimming pool?

    1. I would offer a rimshot, but am worried it may be construed as unauthorized fun.

      1. We’re still reviewing the certification on your snare drum.

        1. no wait, high hat?

          /notadrummer

          1. You think that I’m some guinea, fresh off the boat, and you can kick me?!? But I’m too big for that now. I’m sick a’ takin the scrap from you, Leo. I’m a’ of marching into this goddamn office to kiss your Irish ass. And I’M SICK A’ THE HIGH HAT!

            1. Hell, Leo, I ain’t ashamed to use the word – I’m talkin’ about ETHICS.

    2. There’s a touch of Donald Sutherland’s hippie professor in Animal House to their statement. “I’m not joking…..this is my job!”

    3. You should see the “public” swimming pools the city has.

  4. I get the infrastructure concerns, especially in a city as old as Philly that probably has some pipe made out of wood. (Seriously.)

    But if they just contract for a commercial water delivery, what’s wrong with that? My local volunteer fire company raises money using its pumper to deliver water for swimming pools in the summer.

    1. Where there’s a will there’s a regulation.

    2. It was at the expense of NO ONE.

      Mr. Moneybags Killjoy Thristington III

      Next thing you’ll expect them to pay for their kids school and healthcare, wtf man.

  5. We are not screwing around, Philly. The Streets Department will not issue any future block party permits to the 2400 block of Cedar, and officials have contacted the dumpster rental company regarding its failures to obtain the proper closure permits and to take mandatory measures to protect the street during placement of the dumpster.

    Safe to say he’ll never successfully rent another dumpster for this activity.

    1. “will not issue any future block party permits to the 2400 block of Cedar”

      The whole block must be punished.

      1. Isn’t that how it is in school?

        1. I always use that a way to explain what living in a Scandinavian welfare society is like.

      2. They need to apply it to three generations, like the North Koreans do, to really send a message.

        1. These ratfuckers have been in power for at least three generations, and will remain there for at least another three, so the punishments will continue ad nauseum.

        2. We already have a socialist Mayor so it’s probably on its way.

  6. The good thing is that the local government that issued this proclaimation is elected, and can easily be replaced in a couple of months.

    Your move, Philly.

    1. I’m not entirely convinced that the 2400 Cedar Block incident is going to turn the union-backed, union-entrenched city government out on its ear.

      1. As you read this the Feds are raiding Johnny Doc’s union hall and house.

        There are a lot of Democratic politicians in Philly crappying their pants right now.

      2. I’m not entirely convinced that the 2400 Cedar Block incident is going to turn the union-backed, union-entrenched city government out on its ear.

        Oh, I’m convinced. That was half cynical irony, half hopeful rejoinder. It would be nice if people were plugged in to what their governments are doing so we could have a working democracy. But I ain’t holdin’ my breath.

        We can’t even get rid of school boards that hire and retain the “no tolerance” knobs that expel kids over drawings of guns and pop-tarts and finger-gun motions. And most school board elections only garner a couple thousand votes.

    2. Does Philadelphia elect the people who run the Department of Licenses and Inspections?

      1. They elect the people who appoint them. Democracy works!

        /Tony.

  7. Show me the law that gives you the write to swim in a dumster idiots. Theirs no such law.

      1. GET A BRAIN MORANS!

        1. YOUR A MORON!!

        2. You think your smart, but your just a grahmer natsi

    1. That’s a pretty write-ween stamen.

  8. These people are nasty fucks.

  9. People who have unauthorized fun are the same as Adam Lanza.

  10. “There was diversity of people that were present to do one thing?. HAVE A GOOD TIME.

    See, diversity. Why isn’t that enough for you, random Philly bureaucrats?

  11. Speaking of bureaucracy, here’s a doozy.

    The EPA cannot prove that its Environmental Education Program is worthwhile, according to an audit from the agency’s inspector general. …

    The program awarded more than $16 million in grant funds from fiscal year 2012 to 2014 that went to education organizations, internships, fellowships, and environmental awards.

    When a grant is awarded to a specific project, the government requires that its effects be properly evaluated.

    So they evaluated the program and found it to be ineffective, right? Well, not exactly.

    “The [Office of Environmental Education] was to determine, through its grantees, the percentage of all students and teachers targeted who demonstrated improved academic achievement or teacher aptitude,” the inspector general explains. “Further, the grantees were to provide information on the percentage of all grantee participants who demonstrate increased environmental knowledge.”

    But instead of fulfilling its duty to obtain this information and report it properly, the EPA now claims that the Paperwork Reduction Act prevented it from collecting the data because it restricts the amount of information an agency can request from the public.

    Well, at least they’re being environmental in their excuse-making. Shame about the $16 million they wasted, but hey, it’s just money, right?

    1. CAN YOU IMAGINE HOW MUCH WORSE IT WOULD HAVE IF THEY HADN’T DONE ANYTHING?

      *standard government post-hoc justification*

    2. It’s a struggle to determine which is more galling: that these people are either so incompetent that they cannot do their jobs, or that they’re so flagrantly mendacious that they’ll concoct a cockamamie excuse to avoid doing their jobs.

      A lied, it’s not a struggle. This is very obviously a dodge to avoid having to justify blatant graft.

  12. Swimming in a dumpster….yep, that sounds about Philly’s speed.

    1. Well, they’re not in Alabama, so nobody had a pickup truck bed to use instead.

      1. Duct tape to seal it up, fill it with a garden hose, toss the cooler whatsit floats inther, then go offroading. Swing by the house to refill the bed and the cooler.

    2. The only way to make it more Philly would be to swim in a dumpster full of Miller High Life.

      1. Yuengling would have been a more appropriate choice.

        Delete your account.

        1. Yeah I don’t really know from cheap beers or what the yoots drink to escape the crushing reality of living in Philadelphia. It was really just a shot in the dark.

          1. It would have been so much easier if the story had been in Pittsburgh. IC Light jokes are always golden.

            1. and yet, IC light is anything but.

        2. Is PBR out of fashion again?

        3. Ah, Yuengling – the cause of and solution to so many problems in my misspent 20s.

  13. Finally, remember that the pressure of the water coming out of the hydrant is so strong, and so powerful, that if opened too quickly or closed too quickly, it could deliver a jolt to the main of sufficient force that could break the main ? and many blocks could lose water service until it is repaired.

    Serious question: is this possible? Wouldn’t someone using it for a pool open it at about the same rate as would be used for a fire? Just curious.

    1. Opening a hydrant is a job for trained personnel, first off. It’s a lot more dangerous than you think. Plus if you screw it up, you might muddy the water for your entire block, and that would piss off the neighbors. That’s why fire fighters have the proper training and tools.

      1. It isn’t as complicated as eyebrow threading is it? How many hours do you need to be trained to learn how to use that big fucking wrench?

      2. As a person who opened hydrants as an adolescent, fuck off with that shit guy.

      3. Then there’s a lot of highly trained children in West Philly.

      4. Not true. The city gives out sprinklers for the hydrant because of people illegally opening hydrants in the summer when its hot.

        “Fire commissioner Lloyd Ayers says the city has a limited recreational hydrant sprinkler cap program (below), which requires a neighborhood representative to apply for the appropriate equipment and take responsibility for making sure the hydrant is only opened with the cap in place.”

        Granted, this initiative may have been retired but they used to have this policy in place as recently as 5 years ago.

  14. There is also the potential loss of life by injury due to the hydrant water pushing a small child or even an adult into oncoming traffic.

    Awesome.

    1. I was bothered that there had been an Arrested Development reference, but not any IASIP references yet.

      1. I was embarrassed by it. This is no longer your father’s H and R, I guess.

  15. “There was diversity of people that were present to do one thing?

    How many people are there in a ‘diversity?’

    1. Would you say I have a plethora of people?

  16. “Unauthorized Dumpster Fun Upsets Cheesesteak Overlords”

    1. The only dumpster fun allowed is the solid-gold dumpster fire that is the presidential election.

      1. I wish a hydrant would blast them both into traffic.

  17. “Fun was had.”

    Well that’s your problem right there!!!!

  18. I think they should all sign a petition to unass themselves of the oversight of the self important assholes in the department of unauthorized fun. I mean how badly must you need a “Streets Department” to put up with such bullshit. Fire the fuckers, close their offices, demolish the building they infest, and see if anyone but fun loving people notice the loss…

  19. Was there a “NO DIVING” sign of appropriate size plainly visible?

  20. First and foremost, this could reduce the amount of water available should a fire break out in that neighborhood. So if you would like to have water available should a fire break out in your home, don’t illegally tap a hydrant
    There is also the potential loss of life by injury due to the hydrant water pushing a small child or even an adult into oncoming traffic.
    Finally, remember that the pressure of the water coming out of the hydrant is so strong, and so powerful, that if opened too quickly or closed too quickly, it could deliver a jolt to the main of sufficient force that could break the main ? and many blocks could lose water service until it is repaired.

    1. If having a single hydrant opened is enough to *measurably* decrease the water pressure to the other hydrants in the area then Philadelphia is pretty near to burning to the ground anyway. But its doesn’t – if it did then fire fighters would not use multiple hydrants to fight large fires.

    2. The potential for the loss of life here is negligible as the street *was blocked off in preparation for the event you PERMITTED*.

    1. 3. Uh, sure, same way if you attach a hydraulically operated servo-arm to the steering wheel of an SUV and rotate that wheel a several times the speed that a human could you can get the SUV to tip over while moving. Its 150 psi water coming out of there. Navy ships have no problem with fast shut-offs in our hydrants – when the call to stop the water comes a dude hauls back on a lever or turns a valve as fast as possible to shut the flow down. And our shit doesn’t have the level of bracing and support that being buried in the ground gives you. I’ve never seen anyone come close to damaging the mains in shore facilities either.

      Basically – these guys are taking things that are *technically* possible bad outcomes with vanishingly small probabilities of happening and ignoring the probability of them happening in order to justify their ‘stop having fun guys’ attitude.

    2. But its doesn’t – if it did then fire fighters would not use multiple hydrants to fight large fires.

      The firefighters are attaching hoses with nozzles to the hydrant which restrict the water flow. The flow rate (and thus the effect on pressure in the hydrant system) is much higher when just letting it pour into the street with no constriction of the flow.

  21. Better alt-text: PBR in the making.

  22. Dear residents, your shits all fucked up and you talk like a fag. /Your government

  23. IF I were the mayor of that city, and I caught wind of this fatuous idiocy, I would order the following;

    1) If there is a reasonably sized fine for opening a hydrant (say, in the $15-$35 range), have the right agency issue the ticket to the party organizer.

    2) Find the pompous jackass responsible for that announcement and have him transferred to manhole cover maintenance, or something similar.

    3) Inform the agency threatening to not issue future block party permits that, if you even hear the suggestion that such obstructionism will occur, they’re all going to be fired. Or if Union contracts make that impossible they will be required to work in “safety equipment” consisting of Groucho glasses and tutus.

    4) Issue a formal apology to the party organizer, and pay the ticket out of personal funds. Make the point that hydrants shouldn’t be fooled with, but apologize of the overreaction.

  24. Funny how all the people who scream bloody murder about BLM blocking streets apparently have no problems with a business blocking it with big dumpster.

    1. Excuse me? Relevance? If a block party has been scheduled, the street is already blocked off. Presumably with the agreement of most of the residents.

      1. Collectivism for the loss.

  25. I really don’t see the problem with the commissioner’s letter here. The points he made about the fire hydrants and damage to the public street from a giant dumpster being dropped directly on it are absolutely right. Hydrants are there for a reason and it isn’t recreation.

  26. Did some checking and you can absolutely still get a permit for a device that turns the hydrant into a sprinkler.

    Permit for Fire Hydrant Sprinklers Fire Department?

    Telephone
    215-686-1391

    http://www.philadelphiastreets…..et-events/

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