NOTICE TO ALL BENTON RESIDENTS
The purpose of this notice and information shared below is to inform and to help protect property and citizens of the City of Benton. This information reinforces the importance in knowing where local flood hazard areas are located in the city, provide key information regarding flood plains, highlight the importance in being aware of drainage systems and their relationship to flood plains, the need to be diligent in helping to keep all drainage systems clear, and the importance of maintaining flood insurance. We have provided key local contacts and highlighted requirements contained in Ordinances. We also include suggested ongoing maintenance actions if your property has a significant drainage system adjacent to or one that passes through your property. Lastly, we identify some key requirements if any new or remodel building permits are to be sought if your parcel / property is within the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Please take a few minutes to review all of the items presented to elevate questions, better understand any actions you may need to take to obtain permits, and to be better prepared to protect yourself.
The Special Flood Hazard Area
The SFHA is the area subject to inundation by a 100-year flood. The SFHA is the first area to be flooded if the storm water extends outside of the Floodway of a channel, creek, stream, or river. The SFHA is defined and shown on the Effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) as compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Every community is required to have a specific Ordinance(s) in place that define specific safety requirements if anyone wants to build within the SFHA. The latest and Effective FIRM panels have been adopted by the City of Benton and are listed below and on FEMAs website.
Flooding may be a real hazard in your area of town. Properties near the Saline River, McNeil Creek, Depot Creek, Salt Creek, Hurricane Creek (above and below the Dam), and Willow Depot Creek are most susceptible to inundation during the 100-year flood event. The FIRMs can be updated if data and other factors dictate more property damage and impacts. The above-mentioned areas have had additional property added to the SFHA areas designated on the 2012 updates and the 2020 updates of the City of Benton FIRMs and it is likely future updates will do the same.
You should keep in mind that the majority of homeowners experience storm water drainage issues even if your property is not within a designated SFHA or flood plain. This fact is oftentimes the result of the lack of maintenance with a drainage system that is near or crossing private property. The city conducts a great deal of maintenance within designated easements and right-of-ways but it is also residents who must perform key maintenance when drainage systems are adjacent or reside within their property.
An integral part of a Municipal Storm Water Sewer System (MS4) may exist in your area or may not but it is an important component along with the many drainage channels, creeks, and streams. The MS4 is constructed during development or improvements of streets and any new commercial or industrial sites. As the City of Benton continues to grow, so does the MS4 and our responsibilities. All storm water passes through new or existing systems (some but not all are part of a defined MS4) and channels (some but not all are defined as part of an MS4) ultimately affecting the designated Floodways and Special Flood Hazard Areas within the city limits. It is important to keep all of these systems clear and at full carrying capacity. The Streets & Drainage Department has a Storm Water Section and staff that are responsible to maintain and monitor the MS4 and other key components. Contact the Storm Water Section if you have any questions or concerns.
City of Benton Contacts, Ordinances, and Information:
NOTICE: No work can be started in a drainage channel or creek unless Storm Water staff are notified. ADEQ will need to be contacted and a permit or Short Term Activity Authorization (STAA) may be required from ADEQ. Be aware also that wetlands may be affected and that could require other special permitting to be required.
When planning any Clearing & Grading, retaining wall, or fence installation be sure to contact Storm Water staff first to ensure permits are in place and that there will be no impact made to adjacent or down-stream properties and all other requirements for SWPPP are in place prior to beginning.
NOTICE: No building permits are allowed within Floodways.
*Refer to the Storm Water tab of this web page or under the Streets & Drainage Department for other permits, requirements, and information such as for Street Construction Regulations, Storm Water Drainage Manual, Storm Water Discharge Regulations,MS4 monitoring, Clearing and Grading or altering land permits, Retaining Wall permits, Fence Permits, and other pertinent and related drainage documents and information.
Flood Plain Regulations: Building or Remodeling any Structure in the SFHA:
Obtain permits before clearing and grading or building: Development in the City of Benton is carefully regulated, and any construction that takes place, inside or outside a structure, requires permits from the City. When planning any Clearing & Grading, retaining wall, or fence installation be sure to contact Storm Water staff first to ensure permits are in place and that there will be no impact made to adjacent or down-stream properties and all other requirements for SWPPP are in place prior to beginning.
Floodways are defined on the FIRMs and are critical areas to not be disturbed by any building or construction. The Floodway is the area within a body of water (channel, creek, stream, or river) or boundary of the normal pool level of a lake or pond which the body of water occupies normally or flows through. The extents or outer boundary of the floodway is typically where the SFHA begins. A floodway is outside of the SFHA and Ordinance 17 of 2012 does not allow any permits to be issued for buildings or structures within a designated Floodway. Very few permits will be issued for any work and they will have exceptions and special requirements for allowing temporary or permanent access roads or parking areas, utilities, etc. to cross or exist within floodways or for work to be done to replace utilities in these areas. No re-grading or placement of fill or changes to ground elevations can be made unless special approval is obtained from USACE, FEMA, the City of Benton, and appropriate FIS stream data is re-evaluated, submitted, and a “No Rise” Certification is substantiated and included.
Wetlands are designated areas usually along designated floodways and/or SFHA zones but they can also be present along any channel and not located in a floodway or SFHA. They are defined and controlled by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). To ensure you are not faced with significant cost impact and delays, you should always seek a Determination from USACE when planning a development or site work along any drainage channel, creek, or stream. You must know for sure that there is or is not a wetland area and you must know where it begins and ends on the property. Wetlands cannot be disturbed unless approval from USACE has been received. Oftentimes, approval comes at a significant cost involving Mitigation. The process is lengthy and costly to consider seeking special permits to modify or impact any wetland area.
Flooding - Be Prepared:
The information here is presented in an effort to remind all residents that flooding is a real hazard during the winter and spring rainy seasons and flash flooding can occur during even small summer thunderstorm warnings.
Setup weather alerts and monitor them on your cell phone but in case of power loss, also have a battery operated radio on hand. Listen for news and monitor updates frequently. Replace batteries every 6 months at least in February and August.
Listen to the radio for news; bring outdoor belongings, pets, etc. indoors. If time permits, move valuable possessions to the upper floors or to safe ground.
Be prepared to evacuate and if advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Report local flooding or severe runoff to 501-776-5930. Have other emergency numbers on hand.
Have a 2 day supply of water on hand.
Do not walk through flowing water.
If you are in a car, do not drive through a flooded area. Remember “Turn Around Don’t Drown”.
Additional safety information regarding flood hazards may be found on the FEMA and NFIP websites.
The zone in which your property is in as noted on the FIRM is directly related to the Flooding Risk and therefore potential premium costs of insurance. Other factors such as if your home was built before or after the date of your property’s FIRM became Effective, if you have accomplished any flood proofing or other mitigation of your risk, if your property has flooded, and if any claims have been made due to flooding, etc. are all key elements. In addition, if it is a requirement in the Flood Damage Prevention Program Ordinance 17 of 2012 of the City of Benton to elevate the lowest floor elevation to at least 2 feet above the 100-year elevation or Base Flood Elevation (BFE) which is noted on your property’s FIRM. This Ordinance also requires that an Elevation Certificate and other documents may be required such as LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) if fill is placed on the property and a Flood Plain Development Permit will have to be approved by the city to build within the SFHA. Insurance Companies also place demands for Elevation Certificates or for them to be updated, if building within a SFHA or if a FIRM is updated and changes the SFHA boundaries.
Use the following links to learn more:
Effective Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) Panels:
The links below are the current and adopted Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) panels that became Effective June 5, 2020 for the City of Benton and adjacent areas.
To download a copy of the Current or Effective FIRMs for City of Benton from FEMA: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/advanceSearch
You can use this site to purchase hard copies of any FIRM that you need: https://floodpartners.com/fema-flood-map/
Links to important Flood Protection Information
River Flood Stages from USGS (phone 501-228-3604)
What Residents & Business Owners Can Do to Be Ready for that Next Rain Event:
Contact the Streets and Drainage Department for maintenance issues. Review the information contained in the Storm Water tab of this web site.