AS many as three million sandbags could be used to protect city properties from being flooded this spring.
But what happens to them once the floodwaters subside?
Randy Hull, the city's emergency preparedness co-ordinator, said that in 2009 more than half of the 650,000 sandbags that were used were recycled.
Only sandbags that are not contaminated with river water are recycled.
In areas where there are small numbers of bags, they're placed on the curb, where they tend to disappear pretty quickly.
"People use them to level sidewalks, they put them in their garden to help break up the soil. You get lots of wonderful ideas from the public phoning up for bags and wanting them," Hull said.
In the past, building contractors have taken hundreds of them at a time. Some are also shipped for use at the zoo.
The city arranges with a contractor to remove sandbags quickly so as to avoid riverbank stability issues, Hull said.
"Typically, some of the bags we put in place will get contaminated with river water and those do go to the landfill," he said.
There, they are used on landfill roadways and maintenance projects as well as to help decompose garbage.