U.S. Water News Online
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. -- A local inventor is doing his part
to help fight floodwaters.
Don Metz has developed a large, reusable, water-filled pouch that
could replace the age-old sandbag in battling storms, floods and
``This is a product that's taken off,'' said Metz, whose
FloodWater Bag has drawn the interest of homeowners, emergency
service agencies and even military officials. ``Now we're getting
inquiries from all over the world.''
Metz got the idea for the flood bags a few years ago during a
sleepless night watching a television news report on a devastating
He saw people working tirelessly filling and hauling sandbags to
combat the rising water, and he started thinking about a better way
to deal with such catastrophes.
``They had volunteers, military people, everyone filling these
sandbags,'' he said.
His idea was to use a powder polymer, used as an absorbent in
disposable diapers, mixed with fresh water in the bag. It creates a
gel-like substance within the bag -- making it heavy enough to
withstand the force of floodwaters.
The bags retail for less than $2 each and Metz said he has sold
more than 100,000 so far. He plans to fly to Europe next month to
meet with officials interested in using the bags for combat bunkers
and protecting military hospitals and other installations.
Metz, 70, said he constantly thinks about new ideas and products.
``I do a lot of my thinking in the car,'' he said. ``I can't
remember the last time I had the radio on. I've driven through
Chicago and gotten so involved with some idea that I don't even
remember going through it.''
He attributed his work to more than an inventive mind. An inventor
also has to have enough business know-how to get his ideas into the
``I've been fortunate enough to come up with ideas and develop
them into products, but also market the products,'' he said.
``Nothing happens until the sale is made. You can have the greatest
product in the world, but if you can't get it to market, pfftt.''
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