What We're Doing About It
Rock Island County is implementing a variety of flood protection activities. These include:
- Rock Island County Floodplain Ordinance is based on the State of Illinois Model Floodplain Ordinance.
- Instituting a regular inspection and cleaning program for the ditches and channels.
- Making sure new construction is protected from flooding.
- Preserving flood prone areas as open space.
- Providing a host of materials, references and advice on flood protection for homes and businesses.
The Rock Island
Public Libraries also have information and reference materials on how you can help protect yourself.
Protecting Yourself From Flooding
If you have experienced water problems in the past, you shouldn't wait for the problem to go away. Here are some things you can do:
- Read about flood proofing and get more information from the Library on the measures appropriate for your building.
- Check out flood insurance coverage.
- Read about the County's construction and dumping regulations. Follow these rules and report violations to the Zoning and Building Department at (309) 558-3771.
Wetland soils and vegetation provide an effective natural mechanism for the absorption of storm and floodwater. Increased development in the watershed area increases runoff and storm water, reducing the capabilities and natural functions of the wetlands. Elimination of these wetlands exacerbates these problems, by eliminating totally the natural and beneficial functions of wetlands.
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Elevation of New and Substantially Improved Structures
"New", "substantially damaged" and "substantially improved" floodplain structures minimize damage by elevating the lowest floor of occupied areas a specified amount above the 100-year flood elevation as required by our ordinance. Substantially improved structures are those where the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvements equals or exceeds 50% of the building's market value. Substantially improved structures are subject to the same elevation standards as new structures.
Flood proofing a house means altering it so floodwaters will not cause damage. Different flood proofing techniques are appropriate for different types of buildings. Use the following as a guideline:
- If your house is on a slab foundation, investigate a low floodwall, berm or "dry flood proofing" (i.e., making the walls watertight and closing all the openings when a flood comes).
- If your house is on a crawlspace, a low floodwall, berm or "wet flood proofing" will work. "Wet flood proofing," means moving all items subject to damage out of harm's way so water can flow into the crawlspace and not cause any problems. If floodwaters go over the first floor, it is relatively easy to elevate the building to get the first floor above the flood level. In Rock Island County we require all mechanicals and lowest floor to be one foot above the base flood elevation.
An excellent source for more information is the Homeowner's Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to protect Your House from Flooding (6.46 MB) .
The The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires participating counties and municipalities to issue permits for all development in the 100-year floodplain. Development is broadly defined by NFIP to include any man-made change to land, including grading, filling, dredging, extraction, storage, subdivision of land, as well as the construction or improvement of structures. Proposed development must not increase flooding or create a dangerous situation during flooding, especially on neighboring properties. If a structure is involved, it must be constructed to minimize damage during flooding. Permitting officials work with applicants to discourage development in the floodplain wherever possible, but when unavoidable, the effects of development must be minimized.
The permitting review process may seem cumbersome at times, but it is a requirement for continued community participation in the NFIP. Violations can not only jeopardize a community's standing in the NFIP…they can impact the ability of residents to obtain flood insurance. If you see development occurring without permits, protect your rights by reporting violators to your local permit office.
No matter what kind of building you have, some last minute emergency measures can always help. For example, you could move valuable items (photos, antiques, and other "irreplaceables," etc.) or items that are most damaged by floodwaters (upholstered furniture, stuffed toys, mattresses, foam rubber, etc.) up to a higher level. You can place sandbags or plastic sheeting in front of doorways and other low entry points.
The Red Cross has information on emergency protection measures at: http://www.redcross.org .