Sandbag instructions

You will need:

  • empty sandbags
  • sand - not soil
  • a shovel
  • plastic sheeting
  • string - if you are transporting filled sandbags
  • sturdy gloves and shoes


The Queensland SES has developed videos with helpful advice about filling and laying sandbags.

Filling, moving and placing sandbags can be physically demanding work. Take precautions before starting:

  • use sturdy gloves and wear enclosed shoes, a hat and sunscreen. 
  • drink plenty of water
  • bend your knees and be mindful of your safety when filling and carrying sandbags. 


Step 1.Plastic sheeting 

Lay down a layer of plastic sheeting to act as a water proofing membrane and place sandbags on top.

Step 2.Offset sandbags

Offset the rows with a staggered placement of bags like brickwork.

Sandbag placement

Step 3.Flatten

Lay sandbags as flat as possible and compress rows to fill in gaps.

Step 4.Cover

  • Cover drainage holes, e.g. toilet, shower, bath and floor drains to stop backflow.  
  • Place a small sandbag wall across doorways. The number of layers required will depend on expected flood height, but is generally around two sandbag rows high.
  • Air vents between brick work may also require sandbags. Small vents may be covered with waterproof tape or plastic. 


Sandbags should be stored in a dry location out of the sun.

Stocks of sandbags can rot if left wet or damp. 

Check the bag for damage before using stored sandbags. 


Council now uses polypropylene (poly) sandbags. These poly sandbags are more durable.

Due to recent weather events sandbags are in short supply and it is strongly recommended they be reused where possible.

Store used poly sandbags away from sunlight. They should last at least 12 months. 

If you empty them of sand, the bag should remain usable for at least 24 months. You can store the used sand in an old plastic garbage bin and reuse the sand too. If not stored, the sand can be scattered on lawns and gardens as topsoil. Do not allow sand to wash into stormwater drains. 

You can reuse sandbags exposed to floodwater (oil and other contaminants) provided they are washed and the sand removed.
If you are using hessian sandbags, they cannot be reused and must be disposed.

Dispose of these at one of Council's major waste facilities: 

  • Bunya, 384 Bunya Road, Bunya (700m west of Jinker Track intersection)
  • Caboolture, 51 McNaught Road, Caboolture (via Pasturage Road, off Bribie Island Road)
  • Dakabin, 336 Old Gympie Road, Dakabin (700m north of Alma Road intersection)
  • Redcliffe, 261 Duffield Road, Clontarf (beside the Peninsula Animal Aid).

Remember, do not place full sandbags in your waste bins.