When it comes to protecting residents from flooding, Bellevue ranks among the top 5 percent of communities around the country, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
FEMA has recertified the city's floodplain management program for keeping residents informed, mapping and regulation, flood damage reduction and flood hazard preparedness. The city has even acquired open space in floodplains and kept it undeveloped.
"We're proud of the city's exemplary rating," said Utilities Director Denny Vidmar. "After more than 20 years as a participating community, only a few flood damage claims have been made."
As a result of the city's high floodplain management rating, Bellevue property owners with structures in floodplains will save 25 percent in floodplain insurance premiums; those outside floodplains get a 10 percent discount.
"Bellevue was one of the first cities in the country to implement a comprehensive approach to address preservation and enhancement of streams and the reduction of flooding," Vidmar noted. "Because of investments in flood control projects over the years and a vigorous operations and maintenance program, the city has fared very well during significant storms."
With the rainy season approaching, the city reminds citizens of things they can do to prevent flooding:
- Do not blow or sweep leaves into the street. Check storm drains and remove leaves and debris. Clogged grates are often the reason a street floods during a storm.
- Inspect and clean sediment, debris and rocks from driveways on your property, private roadway culverts and swales. Culverts (pipes that carry stormwater under a roadway) can get clogged and cause flooding on driveways and roads. Property owners are responsible for maintenance of these private drainage systems. If you are unable to do the maintenance yourself, check a list of vendors.
- Clear debris and leaves from roof gutters and downspouts.
- Do not dump trash, grass clippings, wood, Christmas trees, large rocks or other debris into streams or drainage ditches. They can block the flow of water and cause flooding. If you see dumping, call Utilities at 425-452-7840.
- Leave natural vegetation on steep slopes and along streams and lakes alone. Plants slow stormwater runoff, filter pollutants, and stabilize the earth so it won't wash away.
- Test your sump pump to make sure it will be in good working order if a storm hits.
- During a storm, it's normal for streams to rise. Some parking lots, streets and parks have actually been designed to fill with water.
- Do not attempt to drive through standing water.
- If your home or business is in danger of flooding, call Utilities at 425-452-7840 (24-hour emergency number).
- For general drainage questions, call Utilities at 425-452-7840 or e-mail OMSupport@bellevuewa.gov.
- To find out if your house or business is in a floodplain, see the city's floodplain maps.
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