Missouri Department of Natural Resources fact sheet
Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director: Dru Buntin



Disclaimer: The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is not responsible for any harm or accident caused by the construction or use of a sandbag levee, including failure of such levee and including failure of the levee to withstand floodwaters.

How to Fill Sandbags

Fill sandbags 1/2 to 2/3 full, tie at top so bag will lay flat when put in place. (Overfilled bags leave gaps in levee allowing water to seep through.)

Placing Sandbags

Sandbags should be placed flat on ground, overlapped, tamped into place and stairstepped.


Polyethylene (poly) comes in rolls 20 ft. wide and 100 ft. long. It’s used to wrap sandbag levees to prevent seepage. Poly should be placed on downstream portion of levee first, then worked upstream with a two- to three-foot overlap. Poly is held in place with sandbags.

 ​​​​​​Estimated number of sandbags per linear foot
Height in Feet
Bags Required

Note: Preferred levee limit is 3 feet. Five feet is the practical limit of a sandbag levee. If a higher levee is needed, alternative means of construction should be considered.

Placement of Polyethylene

Diagram showing the placement of polyethylene with sandbags


Diagram showing emergency flood fighting using polyethylene levee protection

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

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