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Sep 21

Turn around, don’t drown

Posted to Newsletter on September 21, 2018 at 8:47 AM by Melissa Reeves

Turn Around Don't Drown
Note: This article is part of the Fall 2017 Springdale Newsletter. To check out the full newsletter, please click here.

Turn around, don't drown

Floodwaters rise quickly in Northwest Arkansas. Channels that are predominantly dry can fill with water multiple feet deep in short amounts of time. Whether by foot or automobile, if you see standing water in the path or road in front of you it is best to find an alternate route for your own safety as well as the safety of others. 

Flash flooding has historically provided one of the leading causes for weather-related deaths throughout the U.S. Six inches of water can knock an individual over and cause a loss of control for automobiles, while only two feet of water can carry a vehicle away. 

Additional safety precautions
• Keep children away from floodwaters, as well as ditches, culverts and storm drains.
• Be aware of down power lines.
• Follow proper sanitary measures when cleaning home as floodwater is typically contaminated.
• Check electrical or gas appliances for safety before use.
• Beware of snakes and insects that may have taken refuge inside your home. 

Sign up for Springdale Alert and receive a notification when weather gets severe in our area:

Building Responsibly
Before buying or building property, check with the Springdale Building Department to ensure proper regulations are being followed. If your property is within a regulated floodplain, the Engineering Department requires the submission of a "Floodplain Development Permit." 

New structures within regulated floodplains or local flooding hazard areas are required to be elevated to at least two feet above the base flood elevation. 

The National Flood Insurance Program and Springdale regulations require that additions or improvements to existing buildings within a floodplain where cost exceeds 50% of the market value of the building to meet current regulations including elevating the building to or above the 100-year flood elevation.  

Natural Benefits and Drainage Maintenance
Floodplains play a valuable role in providing natural and beneficial functions in and around Springdale. Floodplains that are relatively undisturbed provide a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems. These benefits provide aesthetic pleasure as well as function to provide active processes such as filtering nutrients. The city’s floodplains enhance wildlife habitats and provide natural erosion control and open space so further flooding damage does not occur.

As simple as it may sound, keeping smaller ditches and streams free of debris can dramatically improve the run-off capacity of low-lying areas, as well as greatly reducing blockage that significantly contributes to flooding. 

It is illegal to dump materials into a required waterway, and violators may be fined. If you see someone in the act of dumping or see debris in one of our watercourses, please contact the City’s Engineering Department at 479-750-8105.

Flood Insurance
The simplest way to ensure protection from flood damage is with flood insurance, and it is not limited to properties within a floodplain. Flood damage can occur anytime water crosses your property line from a neighboring property or right-of-way on the ground surface. These flood damages will not typically be covered by homeowner's insurance.  

Properties outside of a floodplain are typically eligible for lower rates of flood insurance through a "Preferred Risk Policy (PRP)." Renters' policies start at less than $10 per month for $20,000 structural and $8,000 content coverage, and are available for property owners covering all the way up to $250,000 structural and $100,000 content coverage for around $40 per month.

Insurance is sold through the National Flood Insurance Program where it can be obtained from most insurance companies. 

For more information, please contact your insurance agent or find further details by visiting

Tips for protecting your property

• Follow building requirements
• Elevate your home and utilities
• Raise electrical system components at least one foot above the 100-year flood level
• Build with flood-resistant materials
• Examples of flood-resistant flooring materials: concrete, concrete tile, latex, clay, vinyl, pressure-treated lumber, and cold-formed steel
• Examples of flood-resistant wall and ceiling materials: brick, metal, concrete, polyester epoxy paint, pressure-treated lumber and foam, and closed-cell insulation
• Install sewer backflow valves
• Keep lawn waste and trash out of storm drains and waterways

For additional information, please contact:

City of Springdale Engineering Department 
201 Spring Street 
Springdale, AR 72764

Kristifier Paxton, CFM
Floodplain Administrator

Brad Baldwin, CFM
Director of Engineering

Tag(s): newsletter, FYI, flood