Manuel Valdes

We've all seen television footage of people using sandbags to protect buildings against flooding. While it seems futile—the rising water inevitably flows between and over the top of the makeshift barrier—the fact is that, during a flood, half of the benefit provided by placing sand bags around a building comes from the reduction of sediment infiltration. 

Until you've seen it firsthand, you may not realize how much damage sand and silt can cause—much more than water alone. Water can be drained and dried out of walls, basements, and crawlspaces, but sediment will fill up every available nook and cranny, clogging drains and ruining electrical devices and gas appliances. And since it contains...

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