Utah (ABC4) — Officials remind homeowners of a few things they can do to help prevent flooding, and plumbers remind them of the importance of a working sump pump.  

It is still early in the runoff season, but Weber Fire District has already responded to calls of flooded homes.  

“We have started seeing some issues here,” Alec Hansel with Weber Fire District told ABC4. Even though spring just arrived, flooding has already begun to affect homes in the area.   

“There are two types of flooding that we’re going to see,” Hansel stated. “We’re going to see seepage and that’s basically where groundwater is moving into the homes through the foundation,” He said. “We need to make sure that we’re moving snow away from our foundations, giving our homes the best defensible space that we can,”

How far should one move the snow? Hansel said three to five feet is a good call. Another important tool to prevent seepage is a sump pump.

“You want to put a sump pump in, under the floor to keep that water from coming up through the concrete, into your floor, ruining your belongings,” S&B Plumbing Service Manager Jason Hanes told ABC4. He explained that the pump moves water from under the home out and away from the structure.   

“The spring is always busy for us when it comes to sump pumps but especially this year with the record snowfall,” Black Diamond Plumbing & Drain Service Manager JP Powers stated. Like Hanes, he said the sump pump is an incredibly important tool for keeping homes safe from flooding.  

As things warm up and the threat of flooding increases, Powers recommends homeowners check on their sump pump. He explained that one good way of knowing if it is running well is to listen to it.

“Bad sounds are grinding of the bearings inside and humming. A constant hum means it’s physically engaged but it’s not kicking the water out,” Powers said.

Both Hanes and Powers said not all homes have sump pumps in them and on wet years, like this year, they see a huge increase in the demand for pump installation. 

“It’s getting to the point where breaking up concrete and digging down into wet muddy water isn’t the funniest thing to do,” Hanes said through a laugh while telling ABC4 that they’ve been installing pumps daily over the last few weeks. He added: “But yeah, it’s got to be done so we’re here to do it.”  

The other type of flooding is the one most people picture in their minds upon hearing the word, “running water.” Many cities and counties are already opening sandbag filling stations. The Weber Fire District warns residents that putting sandbags out around their homes too early isn’t a good idea for a couple of reasons.  

“We need to save those resources for when we have a problem and an issue we need to address,” Hansel stated. Not only could a rush to claim bags lead to some people not having any, but the weather can also render the bags useless when flooding takes place.  

If a person sees active running water in an area don’t call 911. For active flooding, call (801)-395-8221. If there is a life safety emergency dial 9-1-1.

“We have resources that we can activate. Whether it’s in the upper valley or the lower valley, we have strategic caches placed where we can call those resources in whether it’s through loads of sand or sandbags.” In areas of flooding, the county may bring in large equipment and buckets of sand to prevent the problem from getting worse.   

The county is also asking people to pay attention to rivers, streams, and drainage canals. If they see a blockage that they think could lead to flooding, report it.