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Posted on: September 15, 2017

Reminder: Flooding, Flood Insurance & Construction in the Floodplain

September 15, 2017 – There are several flood hazard areas throughout the City of Midland.  Most flooding occurs from the Tittabawassee and Chippewa Rivers, Sturgeon and Snake Creeks and Inman Drain and can usually be forecast in advance. The Tittabawassee River is the largest source of flooding in Midland, with the last 100-year flood event occurring in 1986, when the river crested at 33.94 feet. Since then, the Tittabawassee River has reached flood stage (24 feet) 17 times and most recently flooded at 32.02 feet on June 23, 2017.

Floodplains that are left undisturbed provide a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems. These benefits include: filtering nutrients, oils from roadways, and farm chemicals out of surface water. Floodplains also support a wide range of outdoor recreational activities and may contain historic or archeological sites.  Floodplains enhance waterfowl, fish and other wildlife habitats.

Human activity, such as the release of pollutants onto the ground or into storm drains, habitat disturbance, and soil disturbance causing erosion into our waterways can significantly impair these natural functions. Pollutants should be disposed of at the City landfill.  Before disturbing any floodplain areas, please consult with the City Building Department to identify all applicable regulations.

Many properties within our city, however, lie within the floodplain.  For those properties already developed, protective measures can be put in place to protect both people and property from the flood hazards.  These measures may include elevating the building or critical infrastructure such as your furnace, air conditioner, or water heater; installing proper flood venting; cleaning your gutters, downspouts and drain lines; or simply keeping debris and trash out of streams and ditches.  Emergency preparedness plans for you and your family in the event of a flood are also recommended.

Per the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a home located within a special flood hazard area (SFHA) or floodplain has a 26 percent greater chance of being damaged by a flood over the life of a 30-year mortgage than by fire or other loss. Homeowner’s insurance will not cover flood damage; this is why flood insurance is mandatory for all federally-backed mortgages.  Flood insurance on homes not located directly within the
floodplain is also encouraged as homes do not have to be in the floodplain to experience flooding.

Because the City participates in the NFIP and because of our floodplain management activities, anyone who owns or rents property within the City of Midland can buy flood insurance through a local insurance agent and receive a 25 percent rate reduction. A 30-day waiting period is required before coverage begins. Citizens may call 1-800-427-4661 with any questions regarding the NFIP or call a licensed insurance agent for more information.

When building within the floodplain, whether that be new construction or an addition to an existing building, there are several regulations that the City of Midland enforces to ensure that homes and businesses are reasonably safe from flooding. The Midland Building Department enforces the Michigan Building Code and Michigan Residential Code, which mandates that the lowest floor (including the basement) of all structures located within the 100-year floodplain is elevated to at least one (1) foot above the base flood elevation.  In addition, the building code mandates that if uninhabitable spaces (such as crawl spaces) are below the base flood elevation, flood venting must be installed to relieve the pressure caused by both flowing and standing water on the home’s foundation.  As illegal development or activity in a floodplain can impact other properties and property owners, please contact the Building Department at (989) 837-3383 if you see such activity or have additional questions.

In Michigan, all floodplain development (not just construction of buildings but filling, excavation, fences, etc.) is also required to obtain a Part 31 Floodplain Permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). To obtain a MDEQ Floodplain Permit contact Joy Brooks, Saginaw Bay District Floodplain Engineer at (989) 894-6226.  This MDEQ floodplain permit is required prior to obtaining any municipal issued building permits. 

If your property is flooded and you have purchased flood insurance through the NFIP, you may be eligible to receive up to $30,000 to move or elevate your damaged property. To find out more about the Increased Cost of Compliance program, please contact the NFIP at (800) 427-4661.

For more information about floodplain-related issues or concerns, contact Certified Floodplain Manager Brad Kaye at (989) 837-3301 or bkaye@midland-mi.org. Additional information can also be obtained by visiting www.midlandcounty.org/emergency or http://www.cityofmidlandmi.gov/619/Floodplain-Information.         

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