EMA_banner

Sandbagging

Press Enter to show all options, press Tab go to next option
Print

Protecting your home and business

Sandbags placed in appropriate locations around your home or business can reduce the impact of flooding. Sandbags will not stop the water completely, but it can reduce the amount of water that enters your home. For most buildings, sandbags should be placed over floor drains (e.g. shower and bath) to prevent backflow. Sandbags should also be used in front of doorways and other openings. It is not always necessary to place a sandbag wall around your whole building to provide protection. Before building a sandbag wall consideration should be given to how you would remove floodwater that could become trapped between the sandbag wall and your building. (e.g. pumps, siphons or bailing bucket).

Building a Sandbag Levee
A US Army Corps of Engineers' engineer, Tim Bertschi, demonstrates the proper way to fill a sandbag and build a sandbag levee.

 

 

How to Sandbag Your Home and Business
This video shows you how to sandbag your home or business in the event of flooding. Sandbags placed in appropriate locations around your home or business can reduce the impact of flooding. Sandbags will not stop the water completely, but can reduce the amount of water entering. If you live in an area where flooding is a possibility, take the time to prepare by keeping a supply of bags and sand on hand.

 

 

Sandbag Safety Tips
Sandbag Safety Tips from North Dakota State University Extension and the North Dakota State University Ready Campus Initiative.

 

 

More information form the experts

Sandbagging Techniques
Procedures and safety tips for efficient sandbagging operations - US Army Corps of Engineers

Emergency Flood Fight Training Manual
Detailed manual on flood fighting - US Army Corps of Engineers

Sandbagging for Flood Protection
Quick summary of sandbagging best practices - Kenneth Hellevang, North Dakota State University, Extension Engineer.

OSHA Quick Card
Stay safe and avoid injuries while sandbagging - Filling, Moving and Placing Sandbags During Flooding Disasters.

 

Estimate Sandbags Needed

Build the dike at least 1 foot higher than the projected crest level to allow for fluctuations in the water level.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recommends building a dike with a width at the base that is three times the dike height. The corps indicates that each foot of finished dike length requires one bag, each foot of height requires three bags, and each 2.5 feet of width requires three bags. This results in each bag having placed dimensions of about 4 inches high by 10 inches wide by 14 inches long.

Use the following equation to estimate the number of bags required per linear foot of dike for a dike with a base width that is three times the height.

N = (3 x H) + (9 x H x H) / 2
N - Number of bags required per linear foot of dike
H - Dike height (feet)
Example:

Estimate the number of bags required per linear foot for a dike 3 feet tall.

N = (3 x 3) + (9 x 3 x 3) / 2 = 45 bags

The estimated number of bags needed for 100 linear feet of dike that is three time as wide as its height is:

1-foot-high dike: 600
2-foot-high dike: 2,100
3-foot-high dike: 4,500
4-foot-high dike: 7,800

A common recommendation is to make the dike twice as wide as its height. This is a minimum width-to-height ratio that should be used. The estimated number of bags needed for this ratio is in the following table. This is based on each bag having placed dimensions of about 4 to 5 inches high by 9 to 10 inches wide by 14 inches long.

The estimated number of bags needed for 100 linear feet of dike that is twice as wide as its height is:

1-foot high dike: 600
2-foot high dike: 1,700
3-foot high dike: 3,000
4-foot high dike: 5,500
5-foot high dike: 9,000

 

Estimate Sand Needed

A cubic yard will fill about 100 30-pound sandbags or about 75 40-pound bags, assuming the sand weighs 110 pounds per cubic foot.

Estimated cubic yards of sand needed per 100 feet of dike length for various dike heights and ratios of height to width. An additional 2 cubic yards will be needed for bags to hold the plastic.


Dike Height (ft.)

1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 5
Sand for Width 3X Height 7 15 25 38 54 73 95 119 145
Sand for Width 2X Height 6 11 18 27 38 50 65 82 100