Tag Archives: sand bag

What happens to old sand bags?

The in basket: I was watching a network newscast a while back in which the victim of flooding somewhere was musing about the cleanup that would follow, including removal of all the sand bags.

It had never occurred to me before to wonder what happens to all the stacked sandbags when the flood waters recede. The alarmist weather forecasts we’re hearing about the coming La Nina winter and our current forecast suggest it may be more than an academic issue for some local residents soon.

The out basket: Sand bags appear to be of three varieties. Those public works and highway departments put down, those residents buy at stores and fill themselves and, in the most serious events, those provided to the public by emergency management departments, often with supplies of sand identified.

Residents who acquire sand bags in either of the final two ways are responsible for what happens to them when the floodwaters recede, says Susan May of the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management. DEMA will refer flood victims to a hardware store for sandbags in most cases, she said.

The sand can be put to other uses later if the bags can be kept from decaying, by covering them, for example. Most homeowners wouldn’t want them as a permanent part of their landscaping, I wouldn’t think.

Callene Abernathy of Kitsap County Public Works says the county cleans up all sandbags it deploys when they are no longer needed. The sand is taken to the road sheds for use in ice and snow control if it hasn’t been too badly contaminated, which it usually becomes in a week or two. After that, they are disposed of as garbage, she said.