How to Correctly Dispose Sandbags After Flooding

NYP Emergency SandbagsWhile sandbags are valuable tools to help hold back water and protect people and property, they come with their own problems once the flood has subsided. Some emergency sandbags can retain water for a period of time. Because they naturally trap collect contaminants and animal waste from the floodwaters, sandbags can quickly become a nuisance and a breeding ground for bacteria if not disposed of properly.

Handling and disposal of sandbags depends on what the bag is made of and what it has come into contact with, but here are a few general guidelines for disposing of sandbags and sand after flooding.


  • When working around wet sandbags, be careful not to slip or trip over the bags.
  • Wear gloves and boots to protect yourself from scrapes and contaminants.
  • Be careful not to cut or break the bags; try to avoid causing loose sand or litter to blow around.
  • Sand that has been in contact with floodwater’s containing bacteria, hazardous chemicals, sewage, septic waste, and oil or fuel protects can cause health problems and environmental damage if not handled properly.
  • Sandbags often contain a mixture of different types and sizes of sand, including coarse grains which can cause scratches and abrasions and fine grains easily blown about by the wind. Some also may contain clay or slat mixed with sand. Try to avoid touching the sand or getting it near your face, and especially your eyes.
  • Because of the possibility of contamination and the health and environmental risks they pose, sand from sandbags should never be used in sandboxes, playgrounds, or other areas where it will be on the ground surface or directly in contact with people. It can only be used in construction projects.

Disposing of Soiled Sandbags and Sand

Contact your local landfill or other disposal site for detailed disposal instructions. Especially after a large flood, some areas may have special rules or collection dates for sandbags and flood-damaged materials. Check the local paper for instructions or announcements.

The easiest way to dispose of large numbers of sandbags is to load them into the back of a pickup truck. It is easy to load and can carry many sandbags at once. After the truck is emptied, the bed of the truck should be washed and disinfected.

Disposing of Clean Sandbags

  • Clean, filled sandbags can be saved and reused at other flood sites for up to 6 months.
  • Unused, empty sandbags can be saved for future use, recycled, or disposed of.
  • The sand can be used for fill, to cover icy roads and sidewalks, mixed into concrete or mortar, as a base for sidewalks or pavement, or for cover in a landfill.
  • Sand should not be disposed of in a wetland, waterway, flood plain, or other environmentally sensitive or protected area.

NYP has proudly served the industrial, agricultural, and horticultural industries as well as many government agencies with burlap, custom textile bags, packaging fabrics, and emergency sandbags since 1946.

Tags: , , , ,

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011 at 8:15 am and is filed under Flood Protection, NYP-Corp News, Sandbags.

Leave a Reply

  • « Older Entries
  • Newer Entries »