CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — Bags of leaves and other trash are piling up in Chesapeake. City officials say staffing shortages are to blame.
“They’ve been sitting out there for a while, bags of leaves that have been sitting out here since everybody raked their yards,” said Chesapeake resident Rachele Valente. “I made a bulk pickup call like two weeks ago, just got back from New Jersey and it’s still sitting out here, so I’m like, I guess I’m going to go have to take it somewhere, take it to the dump myself.”
Chesapeake officials blame staffing shortages.
“It was beginning to be an issue before the pandemic and then, with the pandemic, it’s been a tremendous issue, continues to be,” said Earl Sorey, Chesapeake’s director of Public Works.
Sorey says the city’s Waste Management department is working with about 50% of its typical staff. That’s putting them at least one week behind in picking up bulk items like leaves and big items of trash.
“With the limited number of workers that we get in every day, that first priority for us is to pick up the household waste in the brown cans, that’s a public health issue, that absolutely has to get up,” Sorey added.
Usually, they have eight or nine trucks out daily, solely focusing on picking up bulk items. Right now, it’s two or three.
Sorey points to the need for commercial drivers.
“There’s tremendous demand right now for commercial drivers, whether it be in our line of work and compared to the other cities, or in the construction industry,” he said.
If you have your CDL and need a job, he says to go to the city’s website and apply. You can find a link to job openings by clicking here.
In the meantime, if you’re a homeowner with trash outside or part of an HOA, Sorey says to hang on, just a bit longer.
“We really appreciate everybody’s patience, just understand that we’ve got a dedicated team of employees here,” said Sorey. “The ones that are coming in every day, they are working six days a week and they’re just doing a tremendous job with the resources they have at their disposal.”
Sorey also added that folks who submitted a request for bulk pickup do not need to resubmit their request.