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Using Sandbags

Create a temporary flood barrier using sandbags.

Sandbag distribution program from Seattle Public Utilities

During autumn and winter, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) offers a limited number of free, filled sandbags to households or business owners in flood-prone areas. If you've had or almost had flooding, consider using sandbags. Please check this page again in the autumn for sandbag pick-up locations.

Sandbags don't seal out water, but can help redirect the flow of water and protect property from debris. Sandbags must be used with caution because it is illegal to divert water to your neighboring properties.

During distribution, SPU provides up to 25 sandbags to households or businesses at various locations in Seattle.

For more information about our sandbag distribution program, read our flyer (pdf).
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Filling, stacking, placing and disposing of sandbags

Learn how to place, stack and dispose of sandbags (pdf).
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Filling sandbags is a two-person operation. Properly filled and placed sandbags can act as a barrier to divert moving water around, instead of through, buildings. Learn how to fill sandbags (pdf) from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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. Dispose of the sand properly – do not throw away the contents in the street, down a drain, or in water bodies.

Sandbags can also be purchased

You can also buy sandbags at local hardware stores, but they are often pre-filled and weigh at least 70 pounds. Do not use garbage bags, as they are too slick to stack. Use search key words such as "sandbags in Seattle" to find local vendors.