Stormwater sidewalk

Sandbags help protect businesses from potential flooding conditions along East Johnson Street in Madison. City officials warn that flooding can quickly become a concern again if any rain appears in the forecast. Until that threat has dissipated, sandbags should be kept on the property.

Q: What should I do with the sandbags leftover from the flooding?

A: Madison officials warn that residents who protected their properties from this month’s flooding with sandbags may need them again in the future if anymore significant rainfall comes through Dane County.

The flooding — which stemmed from record rainfall on Aug. 20 and continued rainy weather — overwhelmed area lakes and the Yahara River between Lakes Mendota and Monona. It also backed up the storm sewers on the Near East Side, flooding streets on the Isthmus several days over the following weeks.

Residents and businesses along the Yahara River and Monona Bay as well as those on the Near East Side were encouraged to stack sandbags along their properties to prevent flood waters from seeping in. Now that Madison has had a running streak of rain-free weather, the city has a few options.

The city encourages residents and businesses to store the sandbags for future use.

“Chances are that (if) you have the sandbags today it’s because your property flooded or was at risk of flooding,” Deputy Mayor Katie Crawley said. “This could very well happen again — and sooner than you may expect.”

Another option is to cut the bag and spread the sand on your property — the empty bags can then be thrown away. Full bags or the sand should not be put in the garbage can because it can bring the trash can over its weight limit.

If those options don’t work for you, Crawley said sandbags can be dropped off at one of the sandbagging locations in the city. A list of those sites can be found online at

Once the threat for quick flooding has ended, the city will offer curbside collection for the sandbags, Crawley said. Details will be released once that is announced.

— Shelley K. Mesch

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Shelley K. Mesch is a general assignment reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal. She earned a degree in journalism from DePaul University.

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