311 Trash Request – 6627 N 6th Street: What Can We Learn From It?

311 handles 10s of thousands of trash complaints each year (link). 311 records trash complaints under 5 categories depending on the exact location and nature of the trash situation:

  • Street – Sidewalk right-of-way (SR-ST02), Streets Dept.
  • Rubbish/Recyclable Material Collection (SR-ST-03), Streets Dept.
  • Vacant Lot Cleanup (SR-CL02),  CLIP
  • Maintenance – Residential or Commercial (SR-LI21), L&I
  • Vacant House or Commercial (SR-LI27), L&I

Here is an example of a Maintenance Residential or Commercial 311 request at 6627 N 6th Street on December 28, 2016.


Since this trash is on private property, the 311 service request was entered as a Maintenance Residential or Commercial. The 311 data record shows that this service request must be addressed by 1/16/17, it does not provide any details on the type or quantity of the trash or any explanation on why the property owner has accumulated this material.

Philadelphia has 4 agencies involved in the trash issue: Streets Dept., L&I, CLIP and 311. It is clear that these agencies have significantly improved coordination and communication in the past few years and are working to address street and vacant lot trash. The 311 OpenDataPhilly initiative is a great step forward.

To effectively manage the City’s overall problem, it will be critical to consolidate and characterize the trash information from these 4 agencies so that we can get an overall picture of the trash  types, quantities and trends in our City.

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