Tempe is home to 165 miles of alleys that are utilized for solid waste and recycling collection, bulk trash and green organics collection, utility work and as an access point for emergency vehicles. The Public Works Solid Waste and Recycling Services team is committed to keeping every mile safe, clean and in compliance with city code.
Tempe city code requires residents to maintain their alleys from the end of their property line to the center of the alleyway. The guidelines help keep the alleys looking clean and well-kept, which is a deterrent for illegal dumping and other illegal activities. Code requirements also help ensure that city and emergency vehicles can safely maneuver through alleys. To see Tempe’s code requirements for alleys, click here.
Click here to report an alley concern or call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311.
Common urban alley myths and questions
- Why do my tree trimmings have to be cut into four foot pieces?
If tree trimmings are too big, they can cause accidents and property damage in narrow alleyways. That being said, there’s no reason to pull out the measuring tape - operators use their judgement and pieces do not have to be precisely four feet long.
Your trimming requirements ruin my trees and bushes. Over the past several years, waste vehicles have gotten bigger to reduce costs and trips to the landfill. The newer vehicles need more room to maneuver. We need your help keeping trees at least 15 feet above the ground to avoid accidents and property damage.
I got a fine for the condition of my alley. The city does not assess fines for alley code violations. Instead, residents are encouraged to correct the issue on their own. If that doesn’t happen within 14 days, residents receive a Notice of Violation (NOV). If residents choose not to correct the issue in the allotted time, the city will abate. This means we will do the work ourselves and charge the resident to cover the costs of service.
I had to wait two months for the city to abate code violators in my alley. It’s important for us to be fair and give people a chance to correct issues on their own. Most residents don’t realize they are violating city code until they receive a notice. That’s why we start with an education letter. If a resident doesn’t correct the problem in 14 days, we issue an NOV that gives them an additional 14 days to correct. If the problem still isn’t fixed, the city will abate. We do our best to get our crews there as quickly as possible but abatements can take some time since scheduling and routing varies.
The city never told me about issues in my alley until I got a nasty letter. Many residents don’t realize they are out of compliance with city code, which is why we focus on education first. Residents with an alley impediment receive an education notice giving them time to correct the problem well before an NOV is issued. Residents can always call their assigned inspector with specific questions. The Solid Waste team regularly attends neighborhood meetings to educate residents about alley issues and answer questions. Residents can also contact Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 with general inquiries or to report alley violations.
Somebody dumped an illegal pile behind my property and now I’m responsible. How does the city handle illegal dumping behind my property? This can be a frustrating situation for residents who are doing the right thing. The good news is most cases of illegal dumping are easy to identify. However, the city still needs to gather evidence to charge the right resident or property owner for the abatement. Once a case is identified, the team will monitor the location and abate as needed.
Why can’t I throw dirt, rock and brick in the alley or in a trash container? Even small amounts of this material can add a significant amount of weight to a trash vehicle, which is dangerous because it makes the vehicle more difficult to drive. In alleyways, this material creates drainage issues and reduces vehicle accessibility because the grade gets higher over time. Residents can deliver dirt, rock and brick to a transfer station for free or utilize the city’s rolloff services to dispose of it. Visit www.tempe.gov/slashthetrash or call 480-350-4311 for transfer station locations or to order a rolloff container.
Why can’t I drain pool or rain gutter water into an alley? Flooding in the alley causes the ground to become unstable or uneven, creating hazards for vehicles, bicycles or pedestrians who utilize the alleyway. For pool draining and rain gutter water guidelines, visit www.tempe.gov/stormwater.
My trash or recycling container is broken and I want a new one.Call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 or visit www.tempe.gov/slashthetrash to complete an online request form. We try our best to replace or repair within two days at no cost.
I feel under siege by renters who throw everything away in the alley. Once an incident is identified and enough evidence is collected, the city works with the property owner to collect abatement fees.
Bulk Trash & Green Organics Program
Tempe’s Bulk Trash and Green Organics program provides residents with a convenient option to dispose of large, bulky material and brush. This service is provided free of charge every other month, with an optional Green Organics collection three times a year that coincides with the trimming seasons. If you produce more bulk trash and green organic material than is acceptable for this program, here are some additional options:
- Neighborhood cleanup or community yard sale
- 2nd refuse container – call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 for rates
- Special bulk collection for a fee – call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 for rates
- Self-haul to one of two transfer stations (two free hauls a month for residents)
- Dumpster (rolloff) rental – call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311 for rates
- Zero Waste Day (every November and April)
- Household Products Collection Facility (open every Friday and Saturday)