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All sand, no flood

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

PITKIN COUNTY ” Now that flooding fears have mostly subsided, what happens to all those sandbags?

Some municipalities simply loaded up on loose sand and bags but never combined the two, because there were no major floods.

“We were kind of waiting to see if we were going to need to bag more,” said Basalt Town Manager Bill Efting. If the river had continued to rise, town staff would have been “feverishly” bagging, he said.

This conservative approach to sandbagging means that many municipalities do not have to spend this month getting rid of thousands of sandbags.

In Basalt, Efting expected the town would spread the sand from the bags it did fill onto the town’s gravel parking lots. It will store its unused bags until next year.

In Pitkin County, where sand also went largely unbagged, the Road and Bridge Department will keep about 100 bags of sand on hand “just in case,” according to supervisor Brian Allen.

The rest of the sand will be kept in the county sandlot, which Allen says is used for a variety of projects. Pitkin County will also store its bags until next year.

But at least some homeowners ” who don’t have their own sandlots ” aren’t sure what to do with their extra sandbox material.

Ellen Anderson, emergency management coordinator for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, recently received a call from a property manager in Snowmass Village who had 1,000 bags he wanted to give away.

The problem is, she said, no one really has any place to store them.

And sandbags themselves do not have a plethora of uses. They are largely used in two situations ” as flood control and for barricades ” said a spokeswoman from the sandbag retail company Sandbags Express.

The sand, on the other hand, can be used for everything from beach volleyball courts to wedding sand ceremonies, in which the couple combine the grains to symbolize their union.

However, several state emergency management websites warn against tossing extra sand into the backyard sandbox if the sand has actually been soaked by floodwaters. The water in floods can contain bacteria that may contaminate the play space.

kredding@aspentimes.com


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