City of Asheville Stormwater Services is working to prevent loss of lives, service disruptions, and damages caused by flooding. Flooding can be caused by many factors floods including hurricanes and tropical storms, heavy rains, flash floods, and new development. The Stormwater Program adopts development policies and standards that prevent flooding, preserve stream channels, and minimize water pollution without arresting new or infill development. We also develop detailed watershed plans which promote orderly growth. The City works with local, state and regional partners to construct flood mitigation solutions.
If you have a storm drain near your property you can help maintain it. It is best not to clear your drain while it is raining or if the storm runoff along the street is running fast. Often storm drain grates get clogged with grass clippings, mulch, trash or other debris. Remove and properly dispose of any debris that may be blocking the storm drain grate. If the storm drain is on a busy street or the pipe is clogged, call (828) 232-4567.
The City of Asheville’s Code of Ordinances, Chapter 16; Street, Sidewalk and Other Public Places, Article I; In General, Section 16-3; Keeping sidewalks, grass strips drainage swales and gutters clear, clean and unobstructed., Sub-section C; Maintenance Requirements., Number 2.
The specific ordinance states as follows:
2. Drainage swales: The responsible party that has a drainage swale running along the street that abuts the responsible party's property shall mow and otherwise properly maintain such swale so that it can continue to serve its proper drainage function.
It is particularly important to maintain the drain before the rain starts falling. Because streets are part of our drainage system if the storm drain grate is clogged with debris the excess water backs up onto the street and can cause flooding. Maintaining your drain can reduce street flooding.
Storm drains empty directly into creeks, lakes and rivers. Any of the grass clippings, mulch, trash or other debris that goes down the storm drain ends up in our local body of water. That can hurt aquatic life, help keep our waterways clean by maintaining your drain. It is illegal to pour or toss anything into a storm drain. To report illegal discharge into a storm drain call:
(828) 232-4567 Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 5:00 pm, or
(828) 251-1122 after normal business hours.
The floodplain is the area of land near a water way which floods when the water way is carrying a larger volume of water than normal. Some floodplains are wide while others are narrow. Some floodplains experience frequent flooding while others are very infrequent.
Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) depict areas of flood risk. These maps were created as part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NFIP offers insurance to citizens located in flood prone areas. Visit the Flood Map Service Center online for more information.
- Find out if your property is in a designated flood zone.
- Purchase flood insurance. Flood losses are not typically covered under renter or homeowner's insurance policies. Take the time to understand your flood insurance policy.
- Avoid building in a floodplain unless you elevate and reinforce your home.
- Keep a supply of fresh water on hand.
- Clean off storm drains near your home or business, removing any debris.
- Create an inventory of your personal property and its approximate value. Save receipts from expensive items.
- Have a battery-operated flashlight.
- Have a battery-operated radio, TV or internet access that does not rely on electricity.
- Inform yourself about floods
- Call 911 to report potentially dangerous flooding
- Do not let children play near creeks or streams when the water is rising.
- Be aware that flash flooding can occur. If there is any possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground. Do not wait for instructions to move.
- Secure your home. If you have time, bring in outdoor furniture. Move essential items to an upper floor.
- Do not walk through flowing water. The current in just six inches of water can sweep you off of your feet.
- Do not drive through standing water. If your vehicle stalls, abandon it and get to higher ground. Do not try to push it out of the water.
- If told to evacuate your home, do so immediately.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves if instructed to do so. Disconnect electrical appliances. Do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
- Use local alerts and warning systems to get information and expert advice as soon as it is available.
- Avoid moving water.
- Report any downed power lines to your utility company.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- Do not use appliances or motors that have gotten wet. Take them to a professional to be cleaned and dried.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from flood waters can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Throw away any food and medicine that may have been in contact with floodwater.
- Report potential hazards and storm damage; track storm clean up progress
It is legal to sell property in a floodplain. The State of North Carolina requires sellers to inform prospective buyers of flood drainage problems. The State of North Carolina Residential Property & Owners’ Association Disclosure Statement requires seller to tell the buyer if there is any problems with dampness or standing water. Sellers also have to disclose if the property is a flood hazard or if the property is located in a federally-designated flood hazard area.
The City of Asheville Ordinance Sec. 7-5-12. regulates development activities in the floodplain.
Many Asheville residents have streams on their property. During storm events or heavy rains these streams may erode the land or cut deeper channels, creating potential problems for the land owners or neighbors in the watershed. The NC Cooperative Extension Backyard Stream Repair team produced a guide, Small-scale Solutions to Eroding Streambanks, to give residents many ways to manage and maintain streambanks. Backyard Stream Repair workshops are also held at various locations across the state to provide residents with hands-on opportunities to learn how to stabilize streambanks, enhance their property and improve the environment.
The Community Rating System (CRS) Program, a part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), is a voluntary incentive program that provides discounts off of flood insurance premiums to communities that exceed standards for floodplain management. As of December 2014 the City of Asheville has achieved a 10% discount off of flood insurance premiums for all special flood hazard area property owners in the City due to the steps that the City has taken to reduce flood damage across the community. Read the City News Article.
The Asheville City Council on May 23, 2006, appointed a Flood Damage Reduction Task Force also consisting of City staff, members of the development community, owners of private property in the city and environmental representatives. The task force's mission is to establish a regional approach and long-range plan for flood damage reduction, floodplain protection and watershed management. The plan is based on on best management models, which integrate objectives of flood control, transportation, economic development, land use and community planning, recreation and environmental preservation. For additional information, see the Flood Damage Reduction Task Force Findings and Recommendations of Oct. 30, 2007
Stormwater Services Division
Public Works Department
McCray Coates, Stormwater Services Manager
Physical Address: Public Works Building, 161 S. Charlotte St.
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 7148, Asheville, NC 28802
Stormwater Services Hours: 7 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Monday-Thursday
Main Line: (828) 232-4567