Sandy resident builds retention wall to keep possible flooding at bay

May 2, 2023, 2:25 PM | Updated: May 3, 2023, 5:52 pm

Some of the people preparing for possible flooding in Utah live along Little Willow Creek in Sandy,...

Sandy resident Paul Swenson points to a wall he built to keep spring runoff and potential floodwaters away from his home. (Carissa Hutchinson, KSLTV)

(Carissa Hutchinson, KSLTV)

SANDY, Utah — Some of the people preparing for possible flooding in Utah live along Little Willow Creek in Sandy, and our news partners at KSL TV were the first to report that one of these residents took a bigger step than placing sandbags along the creek and hoping for the best.

 After KSL TV’s Ashley Moser first reported on Paul Swenson’s wall, we invited him on KSL NewsRadio’s Dave and Dujanovic.

Paul Swenson has lived in his Sandy home, near Little Willow Creek, for about 20 years. The creek originates on Lone Peak.


Swenson says the creek is dry for most of the year, but that they expect to see the result of snow melt and rain in the springtime.  The trouble comes when it gets really hot, he said.

“(The river) comes down the hill, and we’re one of the few houses right next to the creek. It only has to rise about two feet to get into our house, most of the time it never even comes close.”

But when the water is moving fast, and debris begins to build up, there’s a possibility that a nearby culvert can become blocked. And if that happened?

“It’d back up and probably make a half-a-million-gallon lake in our backyard.” He said if that were to happen, his basement could be flooded with about 3.5 feet of water.

In the past, he’s stacked sandbags like so many Utahns are doing this week. And he said that while he’s always been grateful for the help shown him by neighbors and even strangers, building a wall would help him relax.

To put things into perspective, to get the same result from sandbags that he gets from the wall, Swenson said he’d have to stack hundreds, seven or eight hundred sandbags, on his property.  

Then he’d have to remove them.

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Sandy resident builds retention wall to keep possible flooding at bay