List: Sandbag do’s and don’ts after a storm

Do not dispose of wet or dry sand on beaches, officials in Florida say

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After many Florida residents obtained sandbags ahead of Ian, which made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane in Southwest Florida, several counties are offering some information on what to do with those after the storm.

Sarasota County shared a helpful list of do’s and don’ts for leftover sand:

  • Do – Reuse dry/unused sand for future flood protection
  • Do – Use dry/unused sand for home landscaping
  • Do – Dispose wet/used sandbags with curbside trash
  • Do not – Dispose wet/used or dry sand in sandboxes
  • Do not – Dispose wet or dry sand on beaches
  • Do not – Dispose wet or dry sand on schoolyards

Locally, Nassau County, whose Public Works Department filled and distributed more than 30,000 sandbags for residents in preparation for Ian, offered similar advice.

“If your sandbags came in contact with flood water, or should you determine that you do not wish to save you clean sandbags for future use, you may consider using the sand to fill holes or low spots in your lawn or using the sand in your flower beds,” the county said. “Please DO NOT dump sand onto the beach. Sand used to stop flooding is different than sand found naturally on the beach and can cause environmental issues, particularly for nesting shorebirds and sea turtles. Additionally, you are requested to NOT throw sand and/or sandbags into your regular trash or your yard debris. Sand will not burn in trash incinerators and because it’s abrasive, it can cause damage to equipment used to burn trash and/or grind debris.

“Once you have emptied sand from the bags, the bags can be tossed into the garbage with your regular household waste.”

In St. Johns County, residents were also urged to save sandbags that did not come into contact with floodwaters for future storms.

While any unwanted sand may be scattered in your yard, the county said, sandbags that came in contact with floodwaters may be contaminated with bacteria and should be discarded at the Tillman Ridge Transfer Station at 3005 Allen Nease Road in Elkton or the Stratton Road Transfer Station at 250 North Stratton Road in St. Augustine This service is free of charge for residents. The transfer stations’ hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

St. Johns County residents are asked not to dispose of any sandbags in the regular trash. Also, it is important not to mix sandbags with yard debris, as the sand is abrasive and can damage equipment used to grind yard debris into mulch.

St. Johns County residents with questions related to sandbags are asked to contact the county’s Solid Waste Division by calling 904-827-6980 or emailing solidwaste@sjcfl.us.

And if you would like to store sandbags for flood protection in the future, both Nassau and Leon counties suggests that you store sandbags in your garage or in a covered area until the end of hurricane season, Nov. 30.