IDEM has procedures to follow for disposal of flood-use sandbags

As the floodwaters have receded, many area residents still have sandbags supplied by the city and county that were used to hold back the rising waters.

Those sandbags don't need to be returned, Huntington Mayor Brooks Fetters says, but residents do need to follow some guidelines for disposal of the sandbags. Those guidelines are set by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

If sandbags have come in contact with industrial wastes, fuel, oil or other chemicals that could negatively impact the environment, they must be disposed of at a municipal solid waste landfill.

If sandbags have come in contact with manure, the sand from them may be land applied on agricultural land at an application rate that is consistent with state regulations and recorded in the farm's operating record.

The empty bags must be disposed of at a municipal solid waste landfill.

If sandbags have come in contact only with floodwater or have not been used, they may be sent to a municipal solid waste landfill or they may be used under certain conditions and restrictions.

In addition, sand from used or unused sandbags can be used as substitute aggregate in construction applications. Full sandbags can be used as general fill or for the construction of berms. The sandbags must be covered with a minimum of six inches of soil and vegetative cover. The cover must be in place to keep bags from being exposed on the surface and prevent them from deteriorating and blowing or washing away.

Unused sandbags can be saved for future use.

Because sand from used sandbags can be abrasive and dusty, contain clay that can stain clothing and may have come into contact with floodwaters that can be contaminated, it should not be used where there will be direct human contact, such as a child's sandbox.