July 13, 2008

Sandbag Removal is Post-Flood Concern

Community leaders along the Mississippi River say they are figuring out how to deal with millions of sandbags left over from fighting recent floods.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said there were 13 million sandbags filled and deployed in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa and the corps is not required to remove the emergency levees. That's up to local units of government, but there's no one effective way to re-use or dispose of the bags, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Sunday.

For instance, in Lincoln County, Mo., officials say they will hire contractors for the job, but the costs are unknown. The biggest challenge, they said, will be to remove a 4-foot-high wall National Guard soldiers erected June 27 in an effort to protect part of Winfield, Mo.

Meanwhile, in Carlinville, Ill., the West Central Development Council says it expects to get a U.S. Labor Department grant to hire 40 to 50 people in Jersey and Calhoun counties to remove flood debris, the Post-Dispatch said. Council leaders said they would prefer to hire area residents put out of work by floods for the sandbag job.