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Runoff Ready

Preparing for spring runoff starts here. 

Streams can rise dramatically during storms and snowmelt runoff in spring. Be prepared for flooding before it happens. Clear debris from drains and stream banks, get sandbags early, and monitor local weather and streamflow forecasts. Be runoff ready!

Follow Salt Lake County on Twitter (@SLCoGov), Facebook (@SaltLakeCountyUT), and Instagram (@SaltLakeCountyUT) for runoff updates and flood prep tips.

Services

Floodplain Map

Is your property located in a flood-prone area? Possible flooding is more likely if your home, residence, or business is located within a FEMA regulated 100-yr floodplain (1% Annual Chance Flood) special flood hazard area (SFHA).

Enter your address in the search box in the upper left corner of the map below to see your local area. You can also the open the Floodplain Map in a new window.

For more detailed maps and flood-related information, visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center.

A river with wood debris by a bridge. A river with wood debris by a bridge.

Clear Debris from Drains & Stream Banks

Clear debris before stream levels rise to help prevent flooding and property damage for you and your downstream neighbors.

Be sure roadway gutters and storm drains closest to your home are clear of any debris. Flood risks increase when drains are clogged with snow or debris.

If you live along a stream, please keep all yard debris away from the stream banks and out of the stream. Debris can easily get swept away when stream levels rise. Once branches, grass clippings, leaf piles, firewood, lumber, and other debris get into the stream, they can block culvert openings, snag on bridge crossings, or quickly clog in-stream trash grates. This can cause flooding, property damage, and severe bank erosion.

Help prevent flood damage with one simple rule... Keep yard debris away from stream banks and out of the stream.

 

Keep yard debris away from stream banks and out of the stream

Follow this advice and you can help: 

  • Prevent flood losses
  • Prevent property damage
  • Reduce stream bank erosion
  • Protect stream health & water quality

 

A group of people digging in the dirt. A group of people digging in the dirt.

Sandbags

Residents are responsible for protecting their property during floods. Consider getting sandbags in advance if you're in an area subject to flooding.

Self-serve sandbag locations can be found throughout the County. Check for availability in your local area first. Salt Lake County provides free sandbags at:

Flood Control Sandbag Shed
604 West 6960 South
Midvale, UT 84047

Open: 7 days a week, 8am-6pm

Bring a shovel to fill your own sandbags.

  • Salt Lake County provides 25 free sandbags per day, per vehicle.
  • You fill your own bags. Bring a shovel and work gloves. Dress appropriately.
  • Bring a friend. Filling is easier with two people.
  • Fill sandbags a little over 1/2 to 2/3 full. If you tie the bag, make sure to leave empty space so the sand has room to move and spread out when the bag is laid flat.
  • Sandbags are your property.
  • You are responsible for proper disposal. Do not dump sandbags in rivers, creeks, streams, canals, ditches, roadway gutters, or storm drain inlets. Do not dump sandbags in curbside residential bins (unless directed otherwise by your city or hauler). Used or old sandbags can be disposed of at dedicated locations provided specifically for sandbag disposal (listed in the sandbag disposal section below) or taken to the landfill. 

When properly placed, sandbags can redirect storm and debris flow away from property improvements. 

Volunteers for sandbagging and other runoff-ready events will be organized through the local municipalities.



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Sandbag Disposal

Sandbags are your property and you are responsible for proper disposal. Please do not dump sandbags in rivers, creeks, streams, canals, ditches, roadway gutters, or storm drain inlets. Do not dump sandbags in curbside residential bins (unless directed otherwise by your city or hauler).  

Used or old sandbags can be disposed of at the locations listed below (provided specifically for sandbag disposal) or taken to the landfill. Clean sandbags could also be stored or reused following the guidance in the flyer below.

A man holding a cable and sampling water. A man holding a cable and sampling water.

Streamflow

Monitoring realtime streamflow is critical to prepare for spring runoff and any flooding that may occur.

We don't know if spring flooding will occur and if it does, how bad it will be. It's all depends on how slowly or quickly the snowpack melts. But, the snowpack will eventually melt and all the creeks, streams, and rivers will rise.

Salt Lake County maintains a network of stream and precipitation gauges located throughout the county. Daily streamflow data is used to forecast floods, manage water quality, and assess water availability.

A man testing snow on a mountain. A man testing snow on a mountain.

Snowpack

Salt Lake County monitors snowpack depth and density at various elevations and aspects in Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons, to inform and improve our predictions for estimated streamflow and the timing of peak spring runoff.

Snow samples are used to calculate the snow water equivalent (SWE) of the snowpack. SWE is used by hydrologists and water managers to gauge the amount of water contained in the snowpack. It is the amount of water that would be released if the snowpack were to melt all at once.

Snowpack Update

Watch the latest "Status of the 2023 Snowpack" video, presented by Salt Lake County Flood Control. New videos will be released approximately every two weeks.

General FAQ

Contact your city first. If you see areas of overland flooding along rivers, creeks, streams, canals, or areas of stream channel erosion, contact Salt Lake County Flood Control at (385) 468-6600. If you see flooding within local roadways, intersections, or parking lots, this is the responsibility of your municipality.

Possible flooding is more likely if your home, residence, or business is located within a FEMA regulated 100-yr floodplain (1% Annual Chance Flood) special flood hazard area (SFHA). We don't know if spring flooding will occur and if it does, how bad it will be. It's all about how slowly or quickly the snowpack melts. But, the snowpack will eventually melt and all the creeks, streams, and rivers will rise.

Use the Floodplain Map or visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center to see if your property falls within the regulated 100-yr floodplain (1% Annual Chance Flood) special flood hazard area (SFHA).

Flood damage from external sources of water (water entering from outside the home), is not typically covered by standard homeowner insurance policies. Flooding can occur from storms; over-saturated ground; rising ground water; overflowing or surging of natural water bodies such as rivers, creeks, streams, ponds, lakes; or even runoff from your own back yard. You can purchase a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.

If you see small debris (small branches, sticks, leaves, grass clippings, etc.) blocking or clogging roadside storm drain inlets, please help by using a rake and removing and disposing of the debris. This is a quick and easy way to reduce the chances of small nuisance flooding. County and City resources are spread thin and do not have the staff to respond immediately for every storm drain inlet that is blocked and needs to be cleared.

Yes! Branches, grass clippings, leaf piles, firewood, lumber, trash, etc. can all cause serious problems downstream if they get swept away when stream levels rise during storms or spring runoff. Clear debris before stream levels rise, and you can help prevent flooding, severe bank erosion, and property damage.

If large debris are in a river, creek, stream, or canal, contact Salt Lake County Flood Control at (385) 468-6600. If debris are within local roadways or intersections, contact your local city public works department.

Sandbags FAQ

No. Our staffing resources are spread thin and we do not have the staffing available to send out to assess or assist on a case-by-case basis. Residents are encouraged to work with their neighbors, family members, church groups, or youth groups if they are available to assist.

Check the list below for  local sandbag locations or contact your municipality directly.

Salt Lake County provides free sandbags at:

Flood Control Sandbag Shed
604 West 6960 South
Midvale, UT 84047

Open: 7 days a week, 8am-6pm

Bring a shovel, and a friend, to fill your own sandbags.

Residents are allotted 25 free sandbags per day, per household from Salt Lake County. Sandbags cost approximately $0.15 to $0.30 (15 to 30 cents) per bag.

Fill sandbags a little over 1/2 to 2/3 full; leave empty space when you tie the bag. Sand is preferable if readily available however local soil can be used.

For more information please see the video higher up on this page.

Watch the videos for information about filling and stacking sandbags, as well as other recommendations for use in preparing for flooding events.

For more information please see the video higher up on this page.

No. Sandbags are your property. You are responsible for proper disposal. Do not dump sandbags in rivers, creeks, streams, canals, ditches, roadway gutters, or storm drain inlets. Do not dump sandbags in curbside residential bins (unless directed otherwise by your city or hauler).  

Used or old sandbags can be disposed of at the locations listed in the sandbag disposal section (these are provided specifically for sandbag disposal) or taken to the landfill.

Polypropylene sandbags can last approximately 8 months to a year when exposed to direct UV sunlight, and almost indefinitely if protected from UV exposure. Burlap sandbags will eventually rot if they are not covered or protected from the elements. Polypropylene bags are used by Salt Lake County and most cities.

Sandbags are your property. You are responsible for proper disposal. Do not dump sandbags in rivers, creeks, streams, canals, ditches, roadway gutters, or storm drain inlets. Do not dump sandbags in curbside residential bins (unless directed otherwise by your city or hauler).  

Used or old sandbags can be disposed of at dedicated locations provided specifically for sandbag disposal (listed in the sandbag disposal section above) or taken to the landfill.

Volunteers for sandbagging and other runoff-ready events will be organized through the local municipalities.