Sandbag Policy

We can provide sandbags to properties that are in immediate danger of flooding to internal living accommodation during an emergency flood event. However, during severe weather, the demand for service will be high and therefore we highly recommend that residents who are at high risk of flooding supply themselves with sandbags and sand which can be positioned in good time in advance of a flood. Sandbags and sand can be purchased from most good builders’ merchants and large DIY stores.

Residents should contact Derby City Council Projects, Water and Flood Risk Management Team on 01332 641 789 (during office hours) or Streetpride on 0333 200 6981 (outside normal office hours) to request sandbags.

Sandbags will be provided on the following basis:

  • The living accommodation of the property is in immediate danger of flooding at the time of the call. For this purpose, living accommodation refers to internal living areas of domestic dwellings, but not gardens, outbuildings, sheds, garages, etc.
  • We will not deliver sandbags to residents on the basis of the threat of rain or flooding, for example if a severe weather warning is given or flood water is at the bottom of the garden.
  • Whilst we will make every effort to, there is no guarantee that we will be able to deliver sandbags to everyone in time to avoid flooding. We will operate a prioritised approach to sandbag distribution when demand for service is high.
  • On delivery, it will be the judgement of the officer delivering the sandbags of how many will be required. This will be based on how many sandbags are needed to reasonably protect the property whilst ensuring the supply of sandbags is not unfairly depleted for other residents.
  • We will not generally collect sandbags, whether in a used or unused condition, following a flood event. It is the householders’ responsibility to dispose of sandbags accordingly. Further disposal advice is given below.
  • We cannot accept any responsibility or liability for flooding, or any other related damages, caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use or misuse of our sandbags nor for any failure to deliver sandbags in advance of a flood. It is the responsibility of the resident to ensure sandbags are best positioned in a timely manner to prevent flooding. 

Sandbags, if laid correctly, offer some protection against flood water entering a property or can divert water away from more vulnerable parts of your home. They can be effective when it is marginal as to whether water enters a house or not. However, in relation to large volumes of water they are largely ineffective, contrary to popular belief.  In addition, sandbags are heavy and time-consuming to put in place. Other products are now available to buy commercially which are both less cumbersome and offer a better standard of protection. More information on such products can be found by visiting the National Flood Forum Blue Pages website.

Disposal of sandbags

Unused dry sandbags are not regarded as waste and can be reused. Sandbags will disintegrate with exposure to light or weather so they are not recommended for use after a long period of time. If you are unable to store full sandbags, please empty the dry bags and store the sand in a dry place or dig into your garden, keeping the bags so that they can be re-filled. Do not place full sandbags or sand in your household waste bin, although empty sandbags can be disposed of as normal.

When exposed to flood water, sandbags will have a tendency to absorb not only water but also contaminants such as sewage and oils. Wear gloves and wash hands thoroughly after handling used sand bags. Attempt to dry out sandbags as much as possible to reduce the weight and make them easier to handle. You should double wrap (e.g. with bin liners) exposed sandbags and dispose of them at your local Household Waste and Recycling Centre. Please inform staff that they have been contaminated with flood water.

You should not place full sandbags or the contaminated sand in the household waste bin. Do not allow children to play with the contaminated sand and do not dig it into your garden as this could present a health hazard. 

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