After Flooding, Sand from Sandbags Can Be Reused
Posted: 07/08/2011

DES MOINES — As flooding continues along the Missouri River, the DNR is reminding Iowans that in most cases, sand from sandbags is not hazardous and can be reused when flooding subsides.

Spreading out sandbag material on the ground to dry in sunlight works to reduce any disease-causing organisms and bacteria that may be in the sand, according to the DNR’s Kathy Lee.

“We don’t recommend people use the sand in children’s sandboxes, beaches or in school yards, but other than that, there are a number of uses for the leftover sand. The sand is not a hazardous material and does not need to go to the landfill,” Lee said.

Cities and counties can stockpile the sand to use on winter roads, on gravel roads or spread the sand on agricultural land or public ground. Some sand companies may take back the sand for reuse. Sand from sandbags used on residential or commercial property can be used as fill material or spread in flower gardens.

Bags still filled with sand should not be disposed as rubble. Full bags can be used for fill material under buildings, roads, parking lots or as daily cover in a landfill.

However, empty bags should be placed in the trash and not reused.

For more flood-related information, including tips on cleanup, please visit the DNR website at