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Update: The city has issued a very strong statement telling residents, “you shouldn’t swim in a receptacle most often used for waste.”

Obviously, they power-washed it.

About 50 bodies took a dip in the dumpster pool at Cedar Street Block Party, says Justyn Myers, one of the guys who set it up this weekend. Myers co-organizes this Riverwards block party annually with buddy Jake Long. They knew they wanted to bring back their Beer Olympics contest, and the giant slip-and-slide. But, Myers explains, with the heat, they really wanted a pool.

The idea of converting a dumpster popped up because “it’s sturdy, it’s rentable and I can just give it back,” says Myers.

“Shenanigans” are their thing. Myers, captain of Lobster Club Mummers Brigade, and Long pretty much turned their spot into an entertainment venue, which they call J&J’s Party Palace.

Myers says they rented the unit for $250, and it took some searching to find a company that would let them use one for swimming.

“I called about 10 dumpster companies,” he says. “[One guy] called and leaves me a voicemail, it’s like ‘Justyn, such a cool idea man. I love it. Talked to my boss. Not going to happen. Nope, not at all. No way. Sorry.’ Click,” said Myers. “He hung up. I was like ‘damn, alright.’” Liability concerns is likely what put companies off the idea, he says.

Pre-conversion. Credit: Andrew Moore

After an initial power wash, they lined the bottom of the bin with plywood. Out came a pair of Home Depot tarps, and they cushioned the corners with pool noodles. How’d they fill it? Where’d they get the water?

They attached a five-outlet manifold to a fire hydrant. All in all, it took an hour and 22 minutes to fill up that bad boy. They estimate it took about 3,000 gallons.

No kids could get in this thing. Long and Myers didn’t set up a ladder. If you wanted in, you had to lift yourself up and over the edge.

The result allowed the water to come at a chill waist level. An attendee tells Billy Penn that festivities carried on through the rain.

“On Friday,” the day before the block party, “L&I showed up and they put a little business card on the dumpster with ‘Permits?’” written on it, recalls Myers.

Yes, if you’re going to replicate this removable above-ground pool concept, you do indeed need a permit, Karen Guss, spokesperson for the city Department of Licenses and Inspections confirms.

“Sure, temporary dumpster pool, OK, right on,” Guss said in an email. “A building permit is required to put up, even temporarily, any pool that is longer and/or wider than 12 feet and that holds water at a depth greater than two feet.”

Whether or not J&J pitches another dumpster pool this summer is a maybe. When we reach Myers by phone, he explains they had let all the water out just a bit before. “We moved all the cars behind it and there’s a sewer on the corner. So we just popped the gate,” he says.

The water stretched up and down Cedar, about a half-inch high. Myers figured it’d be worse.

bus and dumpster
Credit: Brandilyn Hamm

Cassie Owens is a reporter/curator for BillyPenn.com. She was assistant editor at Next City and has contributed to Philadelphia City Paper, Metro, the Jewish Daily Forward, The Islamic...