AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As of Monday, the City of Amarillo’s solid waste department started temporarily cutting back on residential dumpster collections due to a lack of staffing.

Donny Hooper, the City’s public works director, said they are adjusting by collecting just once a week instead of twice while they work to get more employees.

Hooper said in the department’s residential trash collection side, there are 42 positions and only 20 are filled. With 18,000 dumpsters in the city, that lack of operators is causing issues.

“We know that we were not getting two collections done a week, just no way that we could if you do the math with that. Each driver can do about 250 dumpsters a day, at 20 employees doing the amount that we were doing twice a week, that would make each of those drivers responsible for about 450 dumpsters apiece, which means about another six hours on each shift,” said Hooper. “So, it just became impossible and that’s why we’ve gone to once a week collection.”

To pick up trash twice a week, Hooper said that would require at least 36 operators. Until they reach that threshold, he said cutting back on collections will improve their work-life balance.

“We’ve recruited and we’ve done everything that we could to get positions and we’re going to keep doing that. We’re going to continue to recruit till we reach the goal of 36 and we can go back to twice a week collections and we’ll pick it right back up where we left off,” said Hooper. “But some of these drivers have not been home to their families in a long time, at the end of the day, they’re coming off a 10, 11-hour shift every day, it’s getting a little old for them.”

Hooper said 15 drivers are running actual track collection routes and five are working as rovers to help where needed.

He said people with Class-B CDL’s are encouraged to apply.

“Hopefully, we can get some employees here. We hope this is short-lived. I mean, we want this to be very short-lived and we want to fill those positions to get—number one, put people to work. Number two, get our services back.”

For those interested in working in solid waste, Hooper said they are also hiring for Class-A CDL drivers to drive transfer trucks from their transfer station to the landfill.

Hooper clarified that the City of Amarillo does not require a CDL, but still has to meet state law on certain truck weights and sizes.

“So, our trucks are all big enough that we require a CDL, because it’s just that some of the other rural carriers are out in the outlying areas, they can dump some of the smaller containers with a truck that doesn’t require CDL, which I wish that we could do that. But unfortunately, we can’t just due to the efficiency of it.”

He also asked the public to give the new temporary collection schedule a chance, noting they will heavily monitor track pickup to avoid overflowing dumpsters.

“If you have any problems along the way with your dumpsters, or you have anything that you’re experiencing with the load of trash that you have, whatever it is, call us at 378-6813,” he said. “Let us know what you’re dealing with out there so we can address it. We want to be proactive. We want to go out and take care of those issues as soon as we find out.”

According to the city, the days of dumpster service for Amarillo residents will change beginning Monday:

  • If residents previously had service on Mondays and Thursdays, they will now be serviced on either Monday or Tuesday.
  • If residents previously had service on Tuesdays and Fridays, they will be serviced on either Thursday or Friday.

Further, the city stressed that there will be no change in service for residents with poly cart and hand collection routes, or for commercial collection routes.

To apply to the solid waste department, click here.