TEMPORARY FLOOD BARRIER
INSIDE THE FLOODPLAIN

What Is It?

Cost, Deployment Time, and Service Life for Select Products
Tigerdam (inflatable) – ~$80/linear ft for 50 ft-long and 19 inch-diameter tube. Replaces 500 sandbags at a fraction of setup time and similar cost and can be interconnected indefinitely. One tube can be filled in 90 seconds with a hydrant and 3 minutes with a standard pump. 17 year service life.

Eco-Dam (inflatable) – Price varies by size (for 10m sections: $133/linear ft for 5 ft high, $63/linear ft for 2 ft high, cheaper for longer sections). 1 tube can be deployed in under 10 min. 15 year service life.

Rapidam (membrane) – ~$145/linear ft for 1m high x 120m long barrier (significant cost reductions for larger orders). Multiple sections can be joined together. Each 120m section can be deployed by 3 people in 30 minutes. 15 year service life.

Aquafence (modular) – ~$300/ft for 4 ft high, ~$750/ft for 8 ft high. 8-10 people can assemble 150 linear ft of 4ft-high panels in <1 hour. 50- year service life, can be reused over a dozen times.

Flood shields and other permanent flood barriers can be expensive to install and aesthetically displeasing. A wide range of temporary flood barriers are available as alternatives to traditional sandbags for building owners to set up quickly in preparation for a potential flooding event. A selection of the types of temporary flood barriers include:

  • Inflatable flood barriers: Inflatable flood barriers are set up prior to a potential flood event and use incoming flood waters to inflate automatically and create a barrier to divert water.
  • Membrane barriers: Membrane flood barriers use floodwater to seal and stabilize the groundsheet and backwall.
  • Modular barriers: Modular barriers can be constructed from a wide range of materials and use floodwaters to deploy.

Compared to sandbags, most temporary flood barriers can be reused and easily deconstructed and redeployed for multiple flood events. In selecting a temporary flood barrier, it is important to consider the amount of setup time and labor needed to prepare the barrier in addition to factors like cost and protection. Some barriers can be set up by a few people in a short period of time (e.g. Floodstop), while others will require teams of 12 or more workers and several hours to set up (e.g. Aquafence). Depending on flood frequency and site conditions, it may be more cost effective in the long-term to install a permanent, in-situ flood barrier (see “Permanent Flood Barrier”). In addition, some of these permanent flood barriers do not require human intervention to set up and will automatically deploy.

Benefits

  • Temporary barriers are reusable, easier to deploy and clean up, and often cheaper than sandbags.
  • Temporary barriers do not require building or site modifications that may be costly or aesthetically displeasing.

Drawbacks

  • Models range in deployment time. Deployment requires human intervention and sufficient installation time for larger buildings. Without adequate warning, flooding can occur before shields can be put in place
  • Most temporary barriers do not protect structures from high-velocity flooding and wave action.
  • Can obstruct building access when deployed.

Regulatory Impacts and Requirements

A summary of potential regulatory touchpoints follows below.
Temporary-Barrier

Additional Resources

Project Examples

SAMPLE OF SUPPLIERS

See above. Additional temporary barriers include:

SOURCES

Photo credits: Users Liuxiaoniu and Bob Embleton on Wikimedia Commons