Party Pooping Philadelphia Officials Have Outlawed The City’s Newest Craze, ‘Dumpster Pools’

Last weekend, the residents of the 2400 block of Cedar Street in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia participated in a time honored Philly tradition: the block party. Philadelphia block parties are known for neighbors grilling out, loud music, and bounce houses, but Cedar Street residents decided to next-level this year’s festivities by constructing a dang swimming pool out of a dumpster.

But this was no easy feat. Co-organizer Justyn Myers said he had to contact 10 dumpster companies before one was willing to rent to them, due to liability concerns. Finally they were able to secure a unit for $250, and after a power wash, and laying down some plywood and tarps, they had themselves a good old fashioned dumpster pool. DUMPSTER POOL!

It took just under an hour and a half and about 3,000 gallons of water to fill up the dumpster using a nearby fire hydrant rigged with a five-outlet manifold. Unfortunately, there are reasons why citizens should not tap into fire hydrants for public recreation, and after ignoring a visit from the city’s Licenses and Inspections the Friday before the block party, department spokesperson Karen Guss issued the following statement once news of the dumpster pool started to make its way around the city.

In view of the City’s commitment to public health, safety and basic common sense, we will not issue permits for block party dumpster pools. And while you would think this decision would not require an explanation, three days of press requests have proven otherwise. So, Philly, here’s why you shouldn’t swim in a receptacle most often used for waste:

  • 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.

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.

Aside from all of the reasons listed above, I heard an unsubstantiated rumor from my husband whose coworker’s anonymous friend lives near that block on Cumberland and Cedar, that whatever welding mechanism they used to hook the manifold up to the fire hydrant (seen below) permanently damaged the hydrant in a way that fire fighters would not be able to hook their hoses up to it anymore. Again, may or may not be true, but I would not be surprised.

The only thing I know for sure is — thanks to either overzealous, no-fun having city bureaucrats or irresponsible moron residents — dumpster pools, you were too beautiful for this world.

(Via Billy Penn and