Officials urge against sandbag hoarding, saying “leave enough for your neighbor”

Apr 12, 2023, 2:47 PM | Updated: Apr 13, 2023, 12:15 pm

sandbag hoarding...

Salt Lake City fire engineer Craig Beckstrom moves sandbags while responding to flooding outside of a home on Chancellor Way in Salt Lake City on Friday, Oct. 2, 2015. (Kristen Murphy)

(Kristen Murphy)

SALT LAKE CITY — The increasing need for sandbags across Utah right now is resulting in a new problem. Sandbag hoarding and reselling in bulk.

The snowpack is melting and flooding neighborhoods all throughout Utah. The cure for the excess water? Sandbags. In a similar COVID-19 toilet paper-hoarding fashion, sandbags have begun to disappear. 

Host of KSL at Night and partner at Morgan May, Taylor Morgan said this is unbecoming of Utah. 

Specifically, Morgan told Dave and Dujanovic Utahns are quick to help their neighbors. That has held true through recent flooding. But hoarding sandbags goes against this. 

“Unfortunately, the very worst of us, there are a few people… we have some folks that try to profit off the crisis,” said Morgan. 

Further, Morgan said he attempted to orchestrate a youth project in Draper where they filled sandbags and left them for the community. It never came to fruition. 

Draper is no longer allowing residents to just come and pick up free bags because so many bags and so much sand disappeared,” said Morgan. “They have now had to implement a requirement to show identification to prove you’re a Draper resident. And they’ve had to limit sandbags to 15 per household.”

According to Morgan, if you go on Facebook Marketplace, people are selling sandbags for $10 a bag. 

Salt Lake County Emergency Management Chief Clint Mecham confirmed Morgan’s findings on Dave and Dujanovic. He stated that there have been issues with sandbags disappearing from fill station sites.

“We’ve had instances where we’ll put out 1,000 sandbags at a location and an hour later all the bags are gone but the sand [piles are] still there,” said Mecham. 

Mecham said he is asking everyone to stick to the 25 bags per household per day and avoid sandbag hoarding.

“Be very very conscientious of leaving enough for your neighbor or the next person that may need sandbags and not going down this path of taking more than you need,” said Mecham. 

Solutions beyond sandbags

To utilize the sandbags you have available, SLCO has videos on how to stack and spread them to alleviate flooding. 

If for any reason you can’t get your hands on a sandbag, there are other ways to prepare your home.

To start, clear debris from streams and gutters before the water rises. If you live near a stream, keep an eye on the water level. 

Finally, if you see clogging in any areas, SLCO advises residents should engage their city resources for local drainage. 

Flood volunteer opportunities:

Related reading

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Officials urge against sandbag hoarding, saying “leave enough for your neighbor”