Fairfax County

Yard Waste Piles Up as Fairfax County Faces Trash Crew Shortage

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Green bins brimming with brush and piles of yard waste keep piling up outside some homes in Fairfax County, and officials say it's due to an unprecedented labor shortage.

"It gets soggy. It gets more disgusting and smelly," resident Mohmmad Zaman said. He said the county hasn't picked up his yard waste for a month.

Fairfax County collects solid waste and recycling for about 10% of its residents - mostly on the east side. But neighbor after neighbor says the job isn't getting done.

"Five bags and two bundles of leaves and tree limbs out here that, I'd say, have been out here for the better part of a month," Dave Cornelius said.

Cornelius said the bag holding the yard waste is starting to decay.

"All this water pooling and you'll see that's why gravel builds up at the base of my driveway because it all washes down there and it can't proceed and wash on away," he said.

Fairfax County Public Works told News4 the problem is with staffing.

"I've been doing this a long time and I've never run into a labor shortage like this," Fairfax County Public Works Deputy Director John Kellas said.

Kellas said the department is short about 25% of his truck drivers, which is slowing collection down and creating a backlog. The county is trying to hire contractors to help.

"Try to fit what you can in your trash container, that's gonna help some of the backlog," he said.

Kellas said if yard waste isn't collected, just leave it out on the curb. Crews are trying to catch up and could come by at an unexpected time.

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