Ways to Protect a Building from Flood Damage
- Installing a plug or standpipe to stop sewers from backing up into your basement during heavy rains. These will stop the water if it doesn't get more than one or two feet deep, and can be purchased for under $25 at a hardware store. For deeper sewer backup flooding, talk to a plumber about overhead sewers or a backup valve.
- Keeping the water away by regarding your lot or by building a small floodwall 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. The Building Department can provide this information.
- Making your walls waterproof and placing watertight closures over the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get over two feet deep.
- Raising the house above flood levels. A small wood frame house can be elevated for a reasonable amount. This will allow flood water under the houses without damaging them.
These measures are called flood proofing, or retrofitting. More information about them is available at the Richmond Public Library.
Any alteration to your building or land requires a permit from the Building Department. Even regarding or filling in the floodplain requires a permit.
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 will help ensure that you don’t forget anything.