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Are Sandbags the Right Solution for You?

A sandbag flood wall

Are Sandbags the Right Solution for You?

The Environmental Agency of the UK, as well as many experts in the field of flood protection agree that sandbags are ineffective for groundwater flooding, and are only useful when combined with plastic sheeting.Sandbags are time consuming and difficult to handle, and are susceptible to seepage and leakage. Sandbags take at least two people to fill, and at a relatively slow rate of roughly 12 in an hour. They are difficult to handle, can be quite heavy, and time consuming to lay out. If not laid correctly, they become even less effective, further illustrating the need for sandbag alternatives.

Even in a best case scenario, when the bags are stacked properly, they will still seep water.Sandbags are often filled with bacteria from the dirty floodwater, and have proven difficult to dispose of when the flood water has receded.

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Flood Mitigation Strategies

Adding Cofferdams to Your Flood Mitigation Strategies

Flooding affects more homeowners than and other natural disaster, according to FEMA. As of 2015, the average claim for damage caused by a flood was over $46.000. Flood mitigation strategies are necessary for those who wish to protect their home.

Flood mitigation strategies - flood protection for homes

This chart shows the hardest hit states in terms of the total number of claims, and the total amount of claims payments.

How Can I Protect My Home?

There are many steps you can take as a homeowner to protect yourself from a possible flood scenario. The first step you may want to take is to perform a risk assessment. Fema offers a one step flood risk profile. You should also have contingency plans in place for dealing with communication during an emergency, as well as having an emergency kit on-hand. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance does not actually cover damage from floods.

If you live in a high flood risk area, here are a few tips to help minimize the impact of a flood on your home:

  • Ensure that your basement walls have been completely waterproofed
  • Use “check valves.” These valves stop the reverse flow of water and will help to stop flood water from backing up into your home’s drains
  • Elevate your furnace, electric panel (circuit breaker,) and your water heater off of the ground to a reasonable level that you are able to accommodate
  • If you are in a particularly flood-prone area, you may even consider raising the outlets to the mid-level of the walls in your home
  • Construct barriers around your home to keep flood waters out
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Flood Protection - A Cofferdam Guarding A Building

Using Cofferdams for Dewatering

Dewatering - A water filled cofferdam removes water from the area in order for bridge repairs to take place.

Using Cofferdams for Dewatering

During the course of a construction project, it may become necessary to employ a dewatering method remove the water from the area, therefore allowing the project to move forward. This can be done several different ways. In this article, we will focus on water filled dams (or cofferdams.)

Typically, a cofferdam is a temporary enclosure in or around a body of water that is constructed to allow dewatering of an enclosed area. Cofferdams are used to create a dry environment so that construction (or repairs) can proceed on a job site. They were first used in 1736. Today’s cofferdams are typically conventional embankment dams of both earth- and rock-fill, although concrete or some sheet piling also may be used.

A water filled cofferdam uses on site water to fill two inner-tubes. The inner-tubes are wrapped in an outer casing, that is made from heavy duty, geotextile woven polypropylene. The dual inner tubes act as a stabilizer to keep the dam from rolling due to outside forces or water pressure. Once filled, the inner tubes provide the ideal combination of weight, mass, and pressure to stabilize the cofferdam while the project proceeds. Water filled cofferdams come in a wide range of sizes and are generally adaptable to most projects. These types of cofferdams are temporary in nature, therefore, they leave little to no environmental impact.

Practical Applications for Dewatering with Cofferdams

Below is a list of dewatering situations in which a cofferdam may be useful:

 

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Boat Ramp Repair Cofferdam 9

Boat Ramp Lincoln, NE

Boat Ramp Location: Lincoln, NE Cofferdam Size: 4' high x 250 Water Depth: 3' Installation Time: 4 hours Project Description: Cofferdam was used to de-water the work site to allow for a new concrete boat ramp to be poured.

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