Reusing winter sand leftovers on Omaha streets

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) -- At the Public Works facility not far from the airport, you'll find a mountain of debris. It looks like something we'd see at a monster truck show or maybe the X Games but this is Omaha's way of taking something off the streets and figuring out how to re-use it.

"If we can't come up with a good use for it, landfill is our only option,” said Omaha Street Maintenance Engineer Austin Rowser.

So what is it? The debris on the street left in front of your place after a harsh winter. Since March 5th – when it hasn't snowed – two shifts of Omaha street sweepers collect sand and gravel and whatever else has collected in the 5,000 lane miles of Omaha. This year, there's more sand than usual.

"It's been several years since we've used a lot of sand in our snow and ice operations. This past winter with it being as cold as it was, we did use more sand this year than in year's past,” Rowser told 6 News.

Public Works is stockpiling what the street sweepers have collected to see if the sand and rock can be sifted out and re-used in the city's concrete operations – a sustainable solution for what's already an environmental service.

The street sweepers finished early just in time for May and then they'll be back at it after the fourth of July to make sure all the fireworks don't end up in the sewers.