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Posted on: September 6, 2019

Reminder: Flooding, Flood Insurance and Construction in the Floodplain

A forest stream with green trees, flowing over grey rocks

September 6, 2019 – 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, such as 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 floodplains’ natural functions. To protect the floodplain, residents should dispose of any pollutants at the City’s Sanitary Landfill.  Before disturbing any floodplain areas, please consult with the City Building Department to identify all applicable regulations.

Many properties in Midland lie within the floodplain.  For those properties already developed, protective measures can be put in place to protect both people and property from 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. Flood insurance is mandatory for all federally-backed mortgages. Flood insurance on homes not directly located 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 conducts 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. Residents may call 1-800-427-4661 with any questions regarding the NFIP or call a licensed insurance agent for more information.

The City of Midland Building Department enforces several regulations to ensure that homes and businesses are reasonably safe from flooding, including the Michigan Building Code and Michigan Residential Code. This code mandates that the lowest floor of all structures, including the basement, 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 uninhabitable spaces such as crawl spaces located below the base flood elevation must have flood venting installed to relieve pressure caused by 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 to report suspicious activity or with additional questions. 

In Michigan, all floodplain development (including filling, excavation, fences, etc.) is also required to obtain a Part 31 Floodplain Permit from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE). To obtain an EGLE Floodplain Permit, contact Saginaw Bay District Floodplain Engineer Joy Brooks at (989) 894-6226.  An EGLE 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 http://co.midland.mi.us/emergencymanagement or www.cityofmidlandmi.gov/floodplain

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