Frequently asked questions
Sandbag Distribution in King County
- Does King County provide sandbags to the public?
- I live in unincorporated King County. Where can I obtain sandbags?
- Are there limits placed on the number of sandbags I can obtain?
- Where can I get sandbag materials to help me prepare in advance of a flood?
- Where can I get sandbag materials when a flood is expected or during a flood?
- How effective are sandbags?
- How do I assemble and use sandbags?
- How can someone without Web access get more information about the availability of sandbag supplies?
- What do I do with sandbags after the floodwaters subside?
- I am interested in volunteering to support sandbag distribution. Who do I contact?
- Who can I contact for more information about King County’s Sandbag Distribution Program?
King County partners with local cities and towns and, in some cases, community groups, to provide sandbags. King County provides materials or funds to either supply or augment sandbag distribution operations. Distribution oversight is provided by cities, towns, and community groups. This partnership allows King County to supplement distribution operations in a way that is efficient and doesn’t duplicate efforts.
Unincorporated King County residents can obtain sandbags from any the partner agencies or groups. In the past, many cities only distributed sandbags to residents within their jurisdictional boundaries. Under a new program implemented in 2009, cities signing an agreement with King County allow residents of unincorporated areas to obtain sandbags at their distribution centers.
Yes. Limits are specified by each jurisdiction or community group operating a distribution site. Check with the distribution center you plan on visiting to determine the limit.
Some sandbag distribution centers offer sandbags prior to a flood warning announcement. Those that do so are listed as such on the King County Sandbag Distribution Web page. An alternative is to purchase sandbags and supplies through private vendors, which sell materials year-round. Check the Web or local phone directory for sandbag suppliers or hardware stores that offer sandbag materials.
The King County Sandbag Distribution Web page lists all partner distribution locations. These locations will offer sandbag materials when flooding is imminent or during a flood event. You can also call the King County Flood Warning Information Line to find active distribution sites at 206-296-8200 or 800-945-9263.
Sandbags can be an effective flood fighting tool when properly filled and placed. Sandbags do not block all water entirely but can act as a barrier to divert moving water and prevent or reduce flood water. Proper assembly and placement are critical to success in using sandbags as a flood fighting tool.
The automated King County Flood Warning Information Line, 206-296-8200 or 800-945-9263, contains recorded information on sandbag distribution locations. If supplies are not available, the recording will reflect that.
After a flood, property owners are responsible for removing sandbag installations in compliance with their local jurisdiction’s regulations. Check with your local jurisdiction for proper sandbag disposal procedures. Following a flood event, call your local emergency management agency or listen to news reports for instructions on sand and sandbag material disposal.
Information on how to dispose of both clean and contaminated sand can be found on the King County Solid Waste Division Web site.
Distribution operations are managed directly by local cities, towns and community groups. Contact the entity in charge of sandbag distribution in your area to inquire about potential volunteer opportunities.
Who can I contact for more information about the King County Sandbag Distribution Program?
Please contact: Ken Zweig