Floods: Sandbags - Making and Using Them

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Making a Sand-Bag Barrier

Sandbags can be useful in redirecting storm water and debris flows away from your home. But be sure that the sandbags are properly filled and maintained. Here's how:

  • Fill sandbags one-half full. Use sand if readily available, otherwise use soil.
  • Fold the top of sandbag down and rest the bag on its folded top. Take care in stacking the sandbags.
  • Limit placement to three layers unless a building is used as a backing or sandbags are placed in a pyramid.
  • Tamp each sandbag into place, completing each layer before you begin a new layer. Clear a path between buildings for debris flow.
  • Lay a plastic sheet in between the building and the bags to control the flow and prevent water from seeping into sliding glass doors. 
  • 

What to Expect

There are limits to what sandbags can do, so remember: Sandbags will not seal out water. Sandbags deteriorate when exposed to continued wetting and drying for several months.

If bags are placed too early, they may not be effective when needed. Sandbags are for small water flow protection -- up to two feet.

Protection from larger flow requires a more permanent flood prevention system. Be sure to consult with your local environmental protection department before disposing of used sandbags.

Sandbags that are exposed to contaminated floodwaters may pose an environmental hazard and require special handling.





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