Editor’s Note: This is the third of a three-part series.
Anyone who has experienced flooding may have had to clean out basements filled with sewage and water, torn out wet drywall and carpeting or replaced water heaters and furnaces.
The following inexpensive mitigation measures may make these damages a thing of the past.
• Elevate or relocate water heaters, furnaces and major appliances. It is much easier to relocate these appliances to the first or second floor of a home. If they cannot be relocated, then you need to elevate the appliance to the base flood elevation (100 years) if known, or at least 12 inches above the high water mark from the last flood. Some heating systems can be suspended from the basement ceiling.
• Raise electrical panel boxes, circuit breakers, wall switches and any electric outlets to the base flood elevation (100 years) if known, or at least 12 inches above the high water mark from the last flood.
• To prevent sewer backups, install a backflow valve either inside or outside the structure.
• Install floating floor drain plugs at the lowest point of the lowest finished floor to allow water to drain. When the flood drainpipe backs up, the float rises and plugs the drain.
• Construct watertight interior and exterior masonry floodwalls. The floodwall can enclose utilities such as furnaces, water heaters, appliances and electrical systems in the basement or lowest floor of a building. Outside, a similar masonry floodwall can be built around the perimeter of the basement opening. Properly constructed and anchored, these floodwalls can keep water out of the basement or away from utilities.
• Anchor heating fuel tanks to prevent them from floating, overturning or breaking loose in a flood. Metal structural supports and fasteners should be non-corrosive and wooden structural supports should be pressure treated.
• Check with your local building code officials and floodplain manager to determine if a permit is required to perform any of the recommended work.
• Take photographs or a video of your home and all contents and store the documentation in a safe place. This is helpful if you have to file an insurance claim or seek assistance following a community-wide disaster.
• Visit floodsmart.gov and nws.noaa.gov/floodsafety/ to learn more about preparing for a flood.
With the spring rains the area has experienced already and with more likely to come, flooding is a real possibility in many parts of Phelps County.
The county has adopted a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood damage. The heart of the ordinance is a permit program that regulates development in flood hazard areas.
Property owners must obtain a permit from the community floodplain manager before starting new construction or renovation of existing structures in a floodplain. Phelps County’s floodplain administrator is Meramec Regional Planning Commission, which can be reached at 573-265-2993.