laco seal
Department of Public Works
Go to DPW home
Collage of various services by Public Works
Sandbags - Homeowners's Guide for Flood, Debris and Erosion Control
II. EMERGENCY HOME PROTECTION
SANDBAGS

Sandbags, when properly filled and placed, will redirect storm and debris flows away from property improvements.

 FILLING

  1. Fill sandbags one-half full. Sand is suggested if readily available; however, sand is not mandatory, any local soil may be used.

  2. For a more durable bag with increased effective life, mix 10 parts of sand or soil with 1 part of cement. The materials can be mixed and placed dry. After all bags are in place, a light sprinkling of water is recommended. This technique is only effective with burlap sandbags and will not work with plastic sandbags.
PLACING

Fig. 4 Sandbag Placement Fold top of sandbag down and rest bag on its folded top (Fig 4).

It is important to place bags with the folded top toward the upstream or uphill direction to prevent bags from opening when water runs by them.

Care should be taken to stack sandbags in accordance with the illustrations. Place each sandbag as shown, completing each layer prior to starting the next layer. Limit placement to two layers unless a building is used as a backing or sandbags are pyramided (Figs. 5-11).

Fig.5 SANDBAG STACKING AGAINST BUILDINGS
Fig.5 SANDBAG STACKING AGAINST BUILDINGS

Fig.6 PYRAMID SANDBAG STACKING
Fig.6 PYRAMID SANDBAG STACKING

Fig.7 DIRECTING DEBRIS AWAY FROM BUILDINGS
Fig.7 DIRECTING DEBRIS AWAY FROM BUILDINGS

Fig. 8 CONTROLLING DEBRIS OR STORM FLOWS IN STREETS
Fig. 8 CONTROLLING DEBRIS OR
STORM FLOWS IN STREETS

Fig. 9 DIRECTING FLOWS BETWEEN BUILDINGS
Fig. 9 DIRECTING FLOWS BETWEEN BUILDINGS

Fig.10 BUILDING PROTECTION
Fig.10 BUILDING PROTECTION

Fig.11 SLIDING BLASS DOOR SEALING
Fig.11 SLIDING GLASS DOOR SEALING

 LIMITATIONS

  1. Sandbags will not seal out water.

  2. Sand and soil filled burlap sandbags deteriorate when exposed for several months to continued wetting and drying. If bags are placed too early, they may not be effective when needed.

  3. Sandbags are basically for low-flow protection (up to 2 feet). Protection from higher flows require a more permanent type of structure.

 CAUTION

Do not use straw or bales of hay in lieu of sandbags. They do not perform as well as sandbags and may be washed away.