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 April 19, 2014  
 Departments A-FDevelopment ServicesFlood Protection Information   
EFFINGHAM COUNTY IS CRS CLASS 7! Minimize

Effective May 1, 2013, citizens of unincorporated Effingham County who live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (commonly referred to as a flood zone) are eligible for 15% discounts on flood insurance, thanks to the County’s participation in the Community Rating System (CRS) program.

CRS is a voluntary FEMA incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the National Flood Insurance Program minimum requirements.  The objective of CRS is to reward communities that are doing more to help their citizens prevent or reduce flood losses.

FEMA has recognized Effingham County’s superior performance in managing local floodplains by awarding a Class 7 rating.  Out of the nearly 700 counties and cities in Georgia, only 45 are currently qualified for CRS, and of those, only 8 have a better rating than Effingham County.

Unincorporated County residents not located in a Special Flood Hazard Area are eligible for 5% discounts (Preferred Risk Policy holders excluded).  Contact your insurance agent to sign up for flood insurance and take advantage of these savings.  If you already have flood insurance, the discounts will take effect automatically on your next policy renewal date after May 1, 2013.

For more about CRS, visit this link.
 
From the Floodplain Administrator Minimize
Steven M. Liotta, P.E., CFM
County Engineer
Phone: 912.754-8016
Office Address:
Effingham Historic Courthouse
(GIS suite, office 222)
901 North Pine Street
Springfield, Georgia 31329

As County Engineer, I am also the Floodplain Administrator for the unincorporated area of Effingham County.  If your property is within the City Limits of Guyton, Rincon, or Springfield and you have a floodplain management question, please contact your respective City Hall.

The County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance is available on-line.  If you have any questions about the ordinance or its requirements, please let me know.

Thanks to investments by Effingham County, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), analysis of flood risk has been updated in unincorporated Effingham County.  Preliminary digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM) have been developed to reflect current flood risks based on the latest technology and most current information, which will be used by permit officials to regulate development in the floodplain, once the revised maps become effective later this year.  To learn more about how your property is impacted, how your flood risk has changed, and the options available, you are encouraged to view the preliminary maps on the County's GIS mapping website or on GA DNR's website.
 
Special Flood Hazard Information Minimize
Effingham County flood insurance rate maps are being revised as part of the Georgia DNR's Coastal Physical Map Revision project. Preliminary flood maps for most of Effingham County are now available, but will not become effective until the spring of 2014. Further information on this project, including status updates, can be found via the first link below.Effingham County's current digital flood insurance rate map (DFIRM) became effective on December 17, 2010. A map summarizing the special flood hazard areas is available via the last link above. If you have any questions about floodplains or the County regulations on development in floodplains, feel free to contact County Engineer Steve Liotta.
  
 
Flood Protection Information Minimize
Local Flood Hazard

County Flood Services: The first thing to do is check your level of flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection references are available under Special Flood Hazard Information (below left), and also at the Development Services office. You can call, e-mail, or visit the Historic Courthouse to see if you are in a mapped floodplain. If so, we can give you more information, such as depth of flooding over a building’s first floor, past flood problems in the area, and copies of elevation certificates on buildings built in the floodplain.  Even if you are not in a floodplain, there still may be some risk of flooding.  If needed, we can visit a property to review its flood problem and explain ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage.  If you are in a floodplain or have had a flood, drainage or sewer backup problem, we can connect you with sources of assistance.

Flood Safety

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to Georgia Power or the County emergency management office.
  • Have your electricity turned off by Georgia Power. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.
  • Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.
  • Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.


Property Protection

Floodproofing: There are several different ways to protect a building from flood damage. One way is to keep the water away by regrading your lot or building a small flood-wall or earthen berm. These methods work if your lot is large enough, if flooding is not too deep, and if your property is not in the floodway.  Be careful not to simply divert or back up water onto your neighbor.  Another approach is to make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get over two feet deep.  A third approach is to raise the house above flood levels. A small wood frame house can be elevated for less than $10,000.
Many houses, even those not in the floodplain, have sewers that back up during heavy rains. A plug or standpipe can stop this if the water doesn’t get more than one or two feet deep. They can be purchased at a hardware store for under $25. For deeper sewer backup flooding, talk to a plumber about overhead sewers or a backup valve.
These measures are called floodproofing or retrofitting.  Important note: any alteration to your building requires a permit from the Building Department. Even regrading or filling in the floodplain can require a permit from the Development Services office.
If you know a flood is coming, you should shut off the gas and electricity and move valuable contents upstairs. It is unlikely that you will get much warning, so a detailed checklist prepared in advance would help ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Elevation Certificates
As a public service, Effingham County will provide you with copies of completed FEMA Elevation Certificates for most buildings built in the floodplains of the unincorporated area upon request.

Wetlands / Floodplains
Although Wetlands and Floodplains are often considered synonymous, they have distinct differences.
Floodplains are land areas susceptible to partial or complete inundation from the overflow of inland or tidal waters, or from the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.  Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) are those areas of the floodplain subject to flooding by the 1% annual chance storm event.  In the SFHAs, flood insurance is required by mortgage companies under federal law, and the County assures that all new construction complies with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.
On the other hand, the federal Clean Water Act defines Wetlands as those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.  Wetlands are regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
While they often coexist, not all floodplains are wetlands, and not all wetlands are floodplains.  The terms are not interchangeable.
 
GAFM/ASFPM Minimize

Your County Engineer is an active member of both the Georgia Association of Floodplain Management (GAFM) and the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), and is also a Certified Floodplain Manager by ASFPM.  These outstanding professional organizations serve to advance the cause of minimizing flood damage in Georgia and the nation.  Please visit their websites for further information:

GAFM
ASFPM

 
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