FAIRFAX COUNTY, Virginia (FOX 5 DC) – In Northern Virginia, yard waste is piling up in some neighborhoods. People are frustrated waiting for the green bins full of brush to be picked up.
Neighbors in Fairfax County say it’s really annoying and causing damage.
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“One of our neighbors – she probably got five or six bags out and they didn’t pick it up, then it rained, so the bags started to open, then the leaves started to flood the street and come in. in the gutters, ”said Ron Myers, Fairfax County resident.
“The leaves are going to start to fall and we’re going to have 20 or 30 bags of yard waste every week to come out so we’d love to know when they’re going to pick it up, if they’re going to pick it up,” said Larry Reppert, county resident. from Fairfax.
John Kellas, deputy director of public works for Fairfax County, says the Solid Waste Management Program (SWMP) is down 25 percent of their crews, slowing collection, causing delays.
“We are really experiencing a labor shortage,” Kellas said. “There is a big struggle out there in the country right now for CDL drivers. We are all competing with the same CDL drivers and working in the back of the truck.”
It is important to note; the county collects solid waste for only 10% of its inhabitants. Others use private carriers who are also experiencing a shortage of drivers.
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Kellas says they now allow people to mix and mix yard waste with household garbage. Why? Well, usually they’re collected separately, but putting them together is one less trip to a neighborhood, which is useful due to the lack of staff.
Sierra Fox of FOX 5 asked Kellas, “How long do you see this problem going on?” Is it until you can hire more workers?
He replied, “We are working more on recruiting and we are also using outside contractors to help us right now to help us get through.”
Kellas adds that he has never seen the staff shortage and problems escalate in his 30-year career. Residents of Fairfax County say they need to find a solution as soon as possible.
“COVID has hit them hard – I get it – and you have Amazon and UPS which are probably offering more money than getting on a garbage truck and so I understand that, but at some point they will have to figure it out. is a service we pay for and just don’t get, ”Reppert said.
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“It’s also awkward to park because you usually turn it off in the morning and then come home at night and the bins are gone or empty so you can move them around, but now when you have to set aside two or three days in a row or the bags of leaves start to pile up on the street – you don’t have room to park, ”Myers said.
Last year in Fairfax County, yard waste collection was stopped and they don’t want to do it this year.
Why is it more left behind than waste and recycling? Kellas says garbage is their top priority for pickup, as it could become a health issue and create a foul odor. Then comes recycling and finally garden waste since it is grass and brush.
This is a nationwide issue and anyone interested in becoming a worker can contact the ministry.