Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hey Mr. Sandman: Recyling Flood Leftovers

During the recent flooding in the Midwest, the Army Corpos of Engineers said that 13.2 million sandbags to support the flood fight. 'The sandbags, if laid end-to-end, would span from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.," the Corps reported. Now that the floodwaters have receded, what is to be done with all that soggy (and in some cases contaminated)?

Hey Mr. Sandman: Recyling Flood Leftovers

In many cases they're being recycled. Around 200,000 bags from around Illinois' Sny Levee District were recycled at Mark Twain Lake where they were used to protect hydroelectric equipment at the Clarence Cannon Dam.

Similar sandbag levees are to be dismantled in Clarksville, Mo., where most sand removal will be contracted out According to Clarksville Mayor Jo Anne Smiley the town will give the sand away for fill at a local golf course, cement manufacturing or use by the county to dust icy roads in winter.

"It's economically wise to reuse the leftover sand," says spokesman Robert Anderson of the Corps' Mississippi Valley Division, though environmental concerns factor in. Sandbags may be tainted by sewage or chemicals, cautions the Corps' St. Louis District spokesman Alan Dooley. Bags become fragile and may deteriorate in sunlight, Dooley says. Clarksville is separating dry from soaked sandbags. Wet bags are considered contaminated and will be placed in land fills.

lIn in Canton, Mo., 600 cubic yards of wet sand will be covered by 12 inches of clean soil for a new park. Canton, population 2,557, estimates that that sandbag removal and levee repairs in the area will cost $176,200.