COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — After months of backlog, there is some help on the way for Columbus residents with piles of yard waste. 

Private contractor crews started Monday collecting limbs, leaves and grass clippings.

AmWaste based in West Point, Ga., started picking up debris, part of a million-dollar-plus contract with the city. They got a lot of work to do. 

“We don’t have a real timeframe, timetable that we have set on it,” said Rick Sweeney, vice president of operations for AmWaste . “Our expectation is going to be that we move as quickly as we can to work our way through the city.” 

Because of a shortage of prisoners and city employees, yard waste his piled up throughout the city of Columbus. 

AmWaste is being paid $1.77 million over the next 12 months to pick up debris. This is in addition to city crews that will continue to pick up yard waste. There are 14 yard waste routes in the city. AmWaste will run five and the city will pick up the rest.

Monday was AmWaste’s first day on the job. One of their crews was working on Schomburg Road.

AmWaste has hired 10 Columbus employees – drivers and laborers. They are looking to add five more. 

It will take weeks to catch up.

“It is definitely a long time coming,” said Lisa Goodwin, Columbus deputy city manager. “We have a lot of issues that everyone knows about with all of the green waste and the brown waste that is just out there. We wanted to do something drastic to move that and speed it forward.”