Floods and Floodplain Management
A floodplain is the part of the land where water collects, pools and flows during the course of natural events. As the City's overall floodplain maps show, there are numerous areas throughout the city that are subject to flooding. Because flooding causes hundreds of millions of dollars in damage to homes and businesses around the country every year, the City developed an interactive floodplain web app to help property owners in the city determine whether their property is located in a flood hazard area.
Standard homeowner and commercial property insurance policies do not cover flood losses. To meet the need for this vital coverage, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The City participates in the NFIP, which makes flood insurance available to all city residents.
Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains
Local and regional floodplains are an important part of our water system and provide benefits for both people and the natural environment. They affect storm runoff, water quality and the aesthetic qualities of creeks, streams, rivers and lakes. Floodplains also include areas for waterfowl, fish and other wildlife habitats, as well as feeding and breeding grounds. Additionally, the riparian areas associated with floodplains act as a filter and assist in filtering storm and flood waters, which helps maintain bio-diversity and ecosystem sustainability.
In order to protect the natural function of floodplains, the City requires that buffer zones be provided on commercial properties and subdivisions along streams and creeks.
Drainage System Maintenance
Well-maintained drainage systems are imperative for preventing flooding. Debris in the waterway keeps water from flowing properly and causes flooding. The City's stormwater ordinance and state regulations prohibit dumping any material into a stream or channel, and also make it illegal to take any action that will impede the flow of water. Illegal dumping or prohibited activities should be reported to the City's Engineering Division at 864-467-4554.
Chapter 19-7.7. of the Land Management Ordinance mandates that development in the floodplain cannot occur without first obtaining a stormwater permit from the City. The Stormwater Permit Application is available online and should be submitted to the City's Building Permit office on the 4th floor of City Hall, located at 206 South Main Street. If you think someone is working in the floodplain without a permit, please call 864-467-4400 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most owners of homes located in the floodplain don't realize that they cannot improve their home for more than 50% of its value without being required to meet current floodplain regulations. Likewise, homes suffering damage equaling more than 50% of their value must also meet current floodplain regulations when they are repaired. The 50% cap is cumulative for a period of 10 years.
Homeowners are encouraged to build responsibly by obtaining the proper permits prior to making changes to their homes. For more information, contact the City's Building Permit office at 864-467-4550.
Rain gauges are located at the northern and southern ends of the city and current rain gauge information for the Reedy River is available online. Log in to the system using the username Citypublic and the password public.