Sandbags can be used to fill gaps in a permanent protection system, to raise an existing levee or to build a complete emergency levee.
Sandbags alone, when filled and stacked properly, can hold back floodwater, but they are most effective when used with polyethylene (plastic) sheeting.
The bags may be burlap or plastic. Plastic bags can be reused; burlap bags tend to rot after use.
Sandbags are inexpensive and are often provided by a community government free of charge. Filling, carrying and stacking them is hard, time-consuming work. When planning a levee, floodwall or other protection system that involves last-minute activity, think about how much time you have to get ready for the water. Some people have two days; some only two hours.
If you plan to rely on sandbags, stockpile sand on your property. It should be relatively free of gravel and covered to protect it from animals and erosion. If you're depending on the community for sand and sandbags, take your own shovel when you go to the distribution site.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture