Managing Solid Waste:

The Solid Waste Nuisance Program works to prevent illness and disease caused by improper waste management. Waste not properly managed can become a public health nuisance which is in violation of Lincoln municipal Code Title 8-Health and Sanitation.

Garbage Containers

All garbage and refuse must be stored in proper receptacles (a galvanized metal or rigid plastic container not greater than 32 gallons in size) or toters, which have a tight fitting lid and is waterproof. A plastic bag is not considered a proper trash container. All dwellings are required to have garbage service. Call 402-475-3876 for information on refuse haulers. For more information on Garbage Container features click here.

Refuse Accumulation

Brush, trash, refuse, litter, scrap metal, appliances, vehicle parts or other debris cannot be allowed to accumulate and stored on the premises in a way that promotes rodent or insect harbourage.


It is recommended that scrap wood, lumber or firewood be neatly stacked one foot off the ground and away from buildings in order to prevent rodent and insect infestation.

Vehicle & Vehicle Parts

Inoperable, wrecked or dismantled vehicles and all parts, including tires, must be stored inside or removed from the property.

Hazardous Materials

Vehicle batteries are considered hazardous and must be properly stored indoors in a safe place. Used oil must be properly stored indoors and recycled. Pesticides, herbicides, antifreeze and other hazardous chemicals must be safely stored indoors. Visit the city website for more information (Keyword: hazardous).

Standing Water

Containers which collect water create a mosquito breeding habitat. This includes tires, cans, plastic containers and any container that can collect water. Rinse bird baths at least twice a week. Empty containers at least twice a week from April - October.

Pet Manure

Remove pet manure every five days or more if necessary. Bag and dispose of in a proper garbage container.


Weeds provide mosquito and rodent harborage. Weeds and grass must be kept six inches or less in height.

Yard Waste/Compost Piles

If grass clippings are used as mulch, spread out thinly to dry in order to avoid odors. Compost piles must be properly constructed and maintained (regularly mixed at least weekly), and located 25 feet from any adjacent dwelling unit. They should not contain meat scraps, bones, grease, whole eggs, dairy products or pet waste. (Contact UNL Extension at 402-441-7180 for more information.)


Refrigerators and freezers with doors cannot be stored outside unless secured so that the door cannot be opened, or the door is removed. Visit the city website for more information (Keyword: recycling).


Tires must be stored so water cannot collect in them. Tires should be recycled. Check with your waste hauler before placing tires at the curb. Many tire retailers will dispose of used tires for a fee, check with a dealer. Visit the city website for more information (Keyword: recycling).

Brush Piles

Brush piles are not allowed as they provide prime habitat for rodents and other disease carrying animals. Set out brush in easily managed bundles, 4 feet or less in length, for the refuse hauler.

Solid Waste Nuisance Complaints:

When solid waste is not properly managed it can become a public health nuisance. Some examples of solid waste nuisances which can affect public health are listed below:

  • Garbage (animal, fruit or vegetable waste)
  • No garbage service, garbage not in cans with lids
  • Litter
  • Tires off rims (only between April – October)
  • Illegal salvaging
  • Improper composting
  • Sewage discharge
  • Vehicle leaking automotive fluids
  • Chemicals stored outside or are leaking

In most cases, citizens report complaints to the Health Department and the property owner and occupant are notified. Through educational outreach and explanation of the codes, staff are able to obtain compliance in a majority of the cases. When compliance is not achieved enforcement action may be taken.

All rental property in Lincoln must have garbage service provided by their Landlord. If the property has three or more apartments, Lincoln Municipal Code requires a minimum of twice a week garbage service. Many commercial properties, especially restaurants, will have daily garbage service.

In order for someone to haul garbage or refuse from a home or business they must have a permit from the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department. There are over 30 licensed refuse haulers in Lincoln and Lancaster County. To find out who hauls garbage in your neighborhood see what other garbage containers are nearby and get the name and phone number from the container. Or you may call the Lincoln Solid Waste Management Association at 402-475-8360.

To report a property with one of the above nuisance conditions, contact the Health Department at 402-441-8022. The specific address (house number and street) is needed in order to send a letter to the owner of the property and conduct a follow-up inspection. If the situation you are concerned about is not listed, please contact the Health Department so we may direct you to the proper agency. Other agencies that may be able to provide assistance include:

  • Lancaster County Extension at 402-441-7180 for pest identification such as mice, cockroaches, and bed bugs.
  • Building and Safety at 402-441-7785 for junk and debris on residential property. The specific house address is required.
  • Lincoln Police Department at 402-441-7204 for junk cars. A description of the vehicle, the color, make, and model, and specific address are required.