Rising rivers make sandbagging a reputable seasonal industry in Aspen
ASPEN, Colorado – “Sandbagging” is a long-standing tradition among Aspen workers, but it could become big business with the anticipated runoff from local rivers in coming months.And Brad Randel, owner of Specialized Services of Aspen, hopes to capitalize on the issues facing many Aspen homeowners.”I’ve always been kind of a sandbagger,” Randel quipped. “I finally found the perfect job for me.”Randel, along with his general manager, Brad Knotts, is filling sandbags and fortifying Aspen-area homes against possible flooding in coming months.The charge is $6 per 40-pound bag placed on site.Randel ran an ad in local papers and said he is receiving more and more calls from homeowners as the water levels rise.”I think it’s going to get nutty,” Randel said, adding that rivers are already dangerously high and there is still a lot of snowpack at high altitudes.And just the right formula of a few warm, wet days could mean big trouble for folks living along local rivers and streams, Randel said.”If that happens, roll up your pant legs,” Randel said.He suggested that prospective clients get on a list he’ll respond to on a first-come-first-served basis.Knotts said he’s done a handful of sandbagging jobs in Aspen, and has received calls from as far away as Redstone.”Now that the water’s coming up, it’s starting to pick up,” Knotts said. “I’ve sold a few bags just by the bag.”But Knotts said the work is labor intensive.He loads pallets of filled bags to deliver to smaller jobs, or employs a dump truck to unload sand to larger job sites where laborers fill bags one at a time.”This is the first year that we’ve had this kind of water in quite a while,” Knotts said, and many local homeowners just don’t know what to expect.Water often rises in the middle of the night and it’s best to prepare, Knotts said.At some sites Knotts is building one-foot high walls he can add to later if needed.”If you’ve waited to call us until the water’s coming across your lawn, it’s too late,” Knotts firstname.lastname@example.org.
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