Free sandbags for flood season

Where to put, and not put them
Posted at 6:49 PM, Jun 09, 2023

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Here we are in June. Those monsoon storms are not far away so now it might be time to think about protecting your house. For many people that means sandbags; and it’s possible to get them for free.

Pima County has 11 sandbag sites:

  1. 16091 W Universal Ranch Rd - fire station in Arivaca  
  2. E Snyder Rd and N Lason Ln
  3. E Carter Canyon Rd and N Sabino Canyon Parkway-Mt Lemmon
  4. 3885 E Golder Ranch Dr - fire station in Catalina
  5. N Pima Canyon Dr and E Ina Rd
  6. E Dawson Rd and S Country Club Rd
  7. 1313 S Mission Road – Pima County Mission Yard
  8. S Camino Verde and W Ajo Hwy-fire station  
  9. Trico Rd and Silverbell Rd-fire station
  10. 12121 W Picture Rocks Dr-fire station
  11. N La Canada Dr and Paseo Del Chino in Green Valley

Bring your own shovel and enough energy to load your 20-bag quota.
The City of Tucson and some other towns and cities will offer sandbags soon.

Maybe a sandbag’s not a precision instrument but for effective protection, you do need to consider where to put them.

For advice we went to Joe Cuffari of Pima County Flood Control. He says it helps if earlier storms showed you how and where water flows across your land.

“Water is going to want to flow to the lowest spots possible. It's very lazy. So it's very important to look and see where are those flow paths? Where does water run checking after a major storm event? Usually water is going to try to enter underneath doorways. So think of your front door, your back door and your garage. Those are the most important spots to put those sandbags to deter water from entering your structure.”

He says to avoid putting sandbags near your property line. That risks diverting water onto your neighbor’s property. That will not go well for either of you.

Cuffari says you don’t want to leave sandbags out all summer. For environmental reasons, the bags are designed to break down after a long time in the sun so keep them out of the sun until it’s time to set them in place.

Craig Smith is a reporter for KGUN 9. With more than 40 years of reporting in cities like Tampa, Houston and Austin, Craig has covered more than 40 Space Shuttle launches and covered historic hurricanes like Katrina, Ivan, Andrew and Hugo. Share your story ideas and important issues with Craig by emailing or by connecting on Facebook and Twitter.