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Asked Questions
San Francisco Health Network
Environmental Health

Helpful Links

San Francisco Health Code:

Article 6 Garbage & Refuse

Rules & Regs (pdf)


California Agencies


Related Documents

Solid Waste Frequently Asked Questions

Request for Demand/Payoff

Senate Bill 2 $75 fee (pdf)

Related Programs

Hazardous Materials and Waste Program

Refuse Liens


Complaints about garbage, garbage trucks, and refuse-related nuisances

The Solid Waste Program ensures all residences and businesses in San Francisco subscribe to adequate and licensed refuse collection service. The program also ensures that refuse collection is handled in a manner that protects health and safety. Below are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Environmental Health Branch role in regulating garbage and refuse, as well as those that are under the jurisdiction of other agencies.


Garbage Issues:

Q. I already paid my garbage company on a delinquent bill, why does Department of Public Health have a lien against my property?

A. Under San Francisco Health Code, article 6, DPH must continue paying a defaulted garbage bill. Therefore, when you call the garbage company and pay your bill you may be told that your bill is up to date--this is because we paid it while it was delinquent. You still owe us for that period plus any administrative fees.


Q. I need to set up a garbage service or pay my garbage bill.

A. Contact Sunset Scavanger


Q. There is garbage dumped on the street. I don't know where it came from?

A. EH takes care of the trash that is on PRIVATE property (this includes the sidewalk in front of your property), or inside a dwelling. Department of Public Works, at (415) 695-2017 or during evenings or weekends at (415) 695-2020 takes care of street waste. Their site also provides information for free garbage pick up and handles many garbage complaints.


Q. There is garbage dumped on the sidewalk in front of my door!

A. By law, the property owner or the ground-floor tenant of the building immediately adjacent to the sidewalk is responsible for keeping it clean and free of litter. EH Code Enforcement Investigator will investigate such complaint and site owner if it's not taken care of. San Francisco Department of Public Works provides many services that are free to help owners with unwanted trash.


Q. There are garbage cans on the street or sidewalk that never get removed even after the trash is picked up!

A. Contact Department of Public Works.


Q. A business (or residential building) on my street doesn't have garbage service and dumps their garbage in other trash cans, or leaves it on the street until the garbage trucks pick it up.

A. Contact our Refuse Liens Program who will make sure that residents and businesses have garbage pick up service.


Q. I saw a restaurant owner/my neighbor dump paint/oil/something hazardous into the sewer.

A. Contact San Francisco Public Utilities Commission for this and other sewer issues.


Other complaints:

Q. My neighbor never cleans up his dog's waste, and there is a smell

A. Call EH Code Enforcement Complaints Program at 252-3805. While we do not handle odor/smell complaints, this particular issue is of waste (i.e. garbage) on private property, and the smell is the after product.


Q. There is a strange odor coming from my neighbor's house/in my neighborhood.

A. Contact the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. This site provides phone numbers and contacts for different odor problems.


Making a Complaint

  For other types of complaints about illegal dumping or garbage, call or visit 311, or visit our complaint page.