Photo of storm debris

Storm Debris Dumpster Rentals Explained

When Hurricane Harvey hit our hometown of Houston, flooding was the immediate concern. But when the floodwaters receded, homeowners were left to clean up the massive amount of storm debris on their property. That led to giant piles of soaked building materials, tree limbs and other debris in the front yards of many homes. Everything from appliances to carpeting to home interiors had to be thrown out, and people were left wondering about renting dumpsters for storm debris. City officials estimated hauling away eight million cubic yards of debris after the storm.

What often surprises homeowners after catastrophic events is the fact that private property debris isn’t part of what emergency crews help with. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) removes debris that poses an immediate risk to public health or is on public property. But in most cases, storm damage on personal property doesn’t qualify.

So, is renting a dumpster for storm debris the right option, or do you have alternatives to consider? Here’s a closer look at what you need to know about post-storm debris.

Check with your city

Each city has its own process for dealing with storm debris. For large-scale events, like hurricanes or tornadoes, you’ll find information posted online or through news reports to indicate the next steps for debris removal.

A special debris collection area will usually be established in the days after the storm. Once that happens, the city or county will provide instructions on when and what types of debris will be accepted. In some cases, the city will pick up neighborhood debris in stages over time. This could lead to debris sitting on your property for a longer period of time, but if you have minimal damage you most likely won’t need to rent a dumpster.

If your city’s disposal service offers curbside pickup, reach out to find out where you should place your storm debris. You can also look for any special instructions in news reports or on the city or county’s website. Follow the directions provided by your garbage collection agency, and you’ll get the most efficient debris pickup service.

Consider safety

Before you rent a dumpster for storm debris, consider the safety issues the storm created. Just because you’re able to access your property doesn’t mean there are clear paths for city workers—or dumpster haulers—to reach you with large trucks.

Dumpster rental companies and curbside collection services will have to wait until roads are clear before they can deliver dumpsters or pick up debris, so have patience. It’s natural to want to start working immediately, but sometimes road conditions may be unstable or unsafe for days or weeks after the event. In these cases, wait to deal with the debris until conditions settle.

Why rent a dumpster

If it was a large event, city-based services may take a long time to dispose of debris. Think months not weeks. Often, municipalities have limited capacity to handle the debris, such as limited manpower and truck capacity. If you want to clean up sooner, that’s where dumpsters for storm debris can be a solution. With a dumpster rental you can:

  • Sort and toss items at a time that works for you
  • Remove items like concrete that regular municipal garbage pickup may not accept
  • Dispose of large tree limbs, fence pieces, and even structural damage more easily
  • Schedule pickup at a time that works for you
  • Dispose of heavy and bulky items, like carpeting and sheet rock, that curbside pickup might not take immediately

When you rent a dumpster for storm debris, choose the largest size that can safely fit on your property. You will probably have large pieces of debris, so a larger unit will help ensure it all fits in one trip.

Storm debris dumpster pricing

As you shop for a dumpster rental service after a catastrophic event, be aware of pricing. Units will be in tight demand, and rates will definitely be higher than usual. But how high is too high?

After a storm, dumpsters and portable toilets are often trucked in from nearby states to meet demand. That’s going to add to the cost. However, you want to make sure you pay a fair price.

To protect yourself, work with trusted, reliable companies with a reputation for good customer service. ZTERS has been in business for a decade, and we’ve seen many storms and natural disasters. We work with thousands of vendors across the country, and we can tell you when price increases are justified and reasonable. We’ll give you honest answers to your questions about dumpster delivery and service after a storm.

No one wants to face rebuilding a destroyed home. As a Houston-based company, we know about the long road home from disaster. Give us a call if you have questions about dumpsters, temporary fencing or portable toilets for your home rebuild.