Sandbags

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Sandbag Distribution

The Department of Public Works’ policy in regard to the distribution of sandbags to the public during emergencies is to assist homeowners or small businesses that are at risk of experiencing flooding during heavy storms. Public Works will know who to call ie: “911”, The Flood Control District, Fire Department, or other easily available services in an emergency for expert help.

Maintenance will provide enough sandbags to protect the average home or store from flooding (about 10 sandbags). In instances that require over 10 bags, the property owner or resident should seek advice to find a solution beyond sandbagging. During emergency periods, Public Works will furnish engineering advice, free of charge, once the request is received by telephone. Arrangements can be made to meet the party in the field.

Limitations

  • Sandbags will not seal out water.
  • 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.
  • Sandbags are basically for low-flow protection (up to two feet). Protection from higher flows requires 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.

Sandbags

Sand and sandbags are available to West Covina residents (24-hours) at the following Fire Station locations: 

  • Fire Station No. 1/City Yard:

819 S. Sunset Ave.
West Covina, CA 91790

  • Fire Station No. 2:

2441 E. Cortez Street
West Covina, CA 91791

  • Fire Station No. 4:

1815 S. Azusa Ave.
West Covina, CA 91792

  • Fire Station No. 5:

2650 E. Shadow Oak Dr.
West Covina, CA 91792

 

There is a 10 bag limit per household on free sandbags. During emergency periods, City staff will review individual situations and furnish engineering advice. Extreme situations may require the homeowner to consult a civil engineer, engineering geologist, or geotechnical engineer. 

The fire stations are open 24 hours a day should you have an emergency and require sandbags. The bags are not prefilled with sand. Residents will have to fill the sandbags with the available sand. It is suggested to bring your own shovel because there may not be a shovel available. 

For further information, please contact the Public Works Department. 

Sandbags are also available at Los Angeles County Fire Stations under the following guidelines:

1 to 25 bag(s) No Questions Asked
26 to 100 bags

Requires telephone call to (626) 458-4306 or (626) 458-4313 for verification of appropriate and safe usage of sandbags. See “Approved” and “Disapproved” usages below.

Approved usages for County Sandbags:

  • Protection of private residences from flooding.
  • Protection of shops and small businesses from flooding

Disapproved usages for County sandbags:

  • Tract development and erosion control.
  • Large quantities for ocean front protection against wave action. This is usually not effective, and a waste of sandbags.
   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Residents may purchase additional sandbags at

Using Sandbags

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

Filling

  • Fill sandbags one-half full. Sand is suggested if readily available; however, sand is not mandatory, and any local soil may be used.
  • For a more durable bag with increased effective life, mix 10 parts of sand or soil with one 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.
sandbag1

Placing

Fold top of sandbag down and rest bag on its folded top as shown in the illustration on the right. 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.

Stacking Sandbags

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 (see illustrations below).
sandbag2 
sandbag stacking against buildings

sandbag3 
pyramid sandbag stacking

sandbag4 
directing debris away from buildings

sandbag5 
controlling debris or storm flows in streets

sandbag6 
directing flows between buildings

sandbag7 
building protection

sandbag8 
sliding glass door sealing

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