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Main | FLOOD AWARENESS INFORMATION »
Wednesday
Jul312019

Flood Safety - Sandbag Tips 

Hawaii County is susceptible to flooding from hurricanes and heavy rain events during which streams, rivers, and drainage channels can flood quickly with little warning. The best way to protect yourself from flooding is to be prepared.

Sandbag Distribution:

The County generally does not provide sandbags to the public. If your residence is prone to flooding, please be proactive and have your sandbags in place BEFORE flooding occurs. Sandbags are available at a variety of hardware and home building supply stores across the island or online and can be filled with sand or soil.

Using Sandbags to Protect your Property:

Placing sandbags around your home can help direct water away from your house. However, sandbags alone are not enough to protect a structure. Use plastic sheeting or tarps in addition to sandbags to prevent water from entering your home. Note, Chapter 10 of Hawaii County Code prohibits altering drainage patterns with respect to abutting properties.

Doors are the most common area to place sandbags. Because sandbags alone will not keep all the water out, it’s best to protect and anchor plastic sheeting with sandbags around doorways. 

Use a plastic tarp between the house and sandbags to help keep water from seeping into the structure. If placing plastic sheeting over a door, leave an overhang of 3-4 inches on each side. 

Fill your sandbags halfway full with sand or soil and tie at the top. Sandbags should weigh about 35-40 pounds. Bags that are filled too full or with too little sand will not lie flat and may allow water to pass through a barricade. 

Fold the top of the sandbag and place it facing down so that the sandbag rests on top of the folded part. Place the sandbags as you would a row of bricks closely together so there are no gaps in between. Limit sandbag height to 2-3 layers.  

Disposing of Sandbags After a Storm:

Once the threat of flooding is over, homeowners need to dispose of the sandbags used in flood control. Proper disposing of sandbags will help prevent possible health or environmental impacts.

  Sandbags that may have come in contact with contaminated waters may pose an environmental hazard and must be disposed of at a transfer station. For a list of County transfer stations go to: http://www.hawaiizerowaste.org/facilities/.

Sand or soil removed from sandbags can be used in areas where fill placement is not prohibited and/or can be used in gardens. Sand should not be disposed of in a floodplain, beach, stream, or other environmentally sensitive area.

Sandbags can be reused in the future, but will deteriorate with repeated wetting and drying in Hawaii’s climate.

Burlap or plastic sandbags can be reused in other flood events if not stored for long periods of time. 

For more information:

Learn about additional flood awareness safety tips at: http://www.hawaiicounty.gov/pw-flood