Flooding causes more property damage every year in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. There are several cost-effective things you can do to minimize or eliminate property damage before a flood event occurs. Property protection can be either short-term, preparing for an impending flood and Before The Flood activities, or long-term, which include structural and retrofitting activities. Elevating and securing electrical appliances, placing all low-lying electrical fixtures on separate electrical circuits, and using flood-resistant materials on exterior surfaces are some ways you can help yourself. It is also important that the building site has the proper lot grading to insure that water is diverted away from the structures, dispersing it and collecting it in a proper area such as a swale or a retention pond. Remember that is also important that you do not cause your neighbor's property to become susceptible to flooding due to your flood protection measures.
Leon County's Stormwater Maintenance Division responds to all stormwater service requests within unincorporated Leon County, inspects County stormwater systems for maintenance problems and ensure systems are functioning properly, and mows vegetation in stormwater ditches and ponds. Please call 606-1400 or visit the Leon County webpage to report any unusual flooding in unincorporated Leon County.
Do you know that nothing but rainwater is allowed to drain into the storm drains located in streets, curbs, and right-of-ways? Help us keep the waters and streets of Leon County clean! If you witness dumping of any liquid or materials into storm drains or waters of the County, please call Leon County Code Enforcement at 606-1300 or visit the Leon County webpage to report these activities.
Other effective ways to protect your property include mitigation projects such as relocation of a building to a site not subject to flooding, construction of floodwalls and berms to divert water from the property, or floodproofing (retrofitting) a structure. Mitigation and retrofit projects are often more costly; however, if your house has sustained previous damage or is at high risk, one of the following mitigation projects may be a good investment and give you peace of mind.
- Wet Flood Proofing - Modifying the uninhabited portions of the house (crawlspace or unfinished basement) so that flood waters can enter but not cause significant damage to either the house or its contents. This allows interior and exterior hydrostatic pressures to equalize, reducing the likelihood of wall failures and structural damage.
- Dry Flood Proofing - Sealing your house to prevent flood waters from entering. Making the house watertight requires sealing the walls with waterproof coatings, impermeable membranes, or supplemental layers of masonry or concrete. Doors, windows, and other openings below flood levels are equipped with permanent or removable shields and backflow valves must be installed in sewer lines and drains.
- Construction of Levees and Floodwalls - Constructing flood protection barriers around the house to help hold back flood water. Levees are typically compacted earthen structures; floodwalls are engineered structures usually built of concrete, masonry, or a combination of both.
- Structural Elevation - Raising your house so that the lowest floor is above the flood level. This can be done by elevating the entire house, including the floor, or by leaving the house in its existing position and constructing a new elevated floor within the house. The method used depends largely on construction type, foundation type, and flooding conditions.
- Relocation - Moving your house to high ground, outside the flood hazard area. When space permits it may be possible to relocate the house to higher ground on the same piece of property. Once relocated, utility lines are connected.
- Demolition - Tearing down a damaged or high risk structure and either rebuilding properly somewhere on the same property or moving to a house onto other property, outside the regulatory floodplain.
- Acquisition of Flood Prone Properties - Properties that meet FEMA's definition of repetitive flood losses may qualify for acquisition by federal, state and local governmental agencies with the stipulation that the land be maintained as open space and not be redeveloped.
Leon County requires the issuance of all appropriate building permits prior to any construction in the County. Permits are obtained after submittal and approval of building plans. An important part of this review process is the requirement that structures be built high enough and use proper design techniques to protect against flood damage. If you plan to construct an addition to your house, to build a new house, to fill a property or for any development, call Leon County Development Support & Environmental Management at 606-1300, for information on how to obtain the necessary permits.