Flood Protection

FLOODINGAs part of New Castle County’s efforts to reduce the impact of flooding, we are regulating new development and redevelopment to a higher standard, remapping flood prone watercourses in concert with FEMA and DNREC and continuing to update and maintain our designation as a Community Rating System (CRS) community, which provides policy holders with premium discounts on flood insurance.

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Here are some things you can do to minimize damage from future flooding events in your community:

  1. Contact the Department of Land Use to discuss the predicted inundation and depth of flooding on your property.
  2. Prepare for flooding by doing the following:
    •  Know the flood safety guidance on the last page of this letter.
    •  Know how to shut off electricity and gas to your house when a flood comes.
    •  Make a list of emergency numbers and identify a safe place to go.
    •  Make a household inventory, especially of basement contents
    •  Place insurance policies, valuable papers, medicine in a safe place.
    •  Collect and place cleaning supplies, camera, and waterproof boots in a handy place.
    •  Develop a household disaster response plan – See the Red Cross website: 
    www.redcross.org for Disaster Preparedness Plan templates.
    •  Obtain a copy of Repairing Your Flooded Home from the Red Cross website.
  3. Consider some permanent flood protection measures:
    •  Mark your fuse or breaker box to show circuits to the flood prone areas. Turning off the power to the basement circuits can reduce property damage and save lives.
    •  Consider elevating your house above flood levels.
    •  Check your building for water entry points. These can be basement windows, basement stairwells and doors and dryer vents. These can be protected by low walls and shields.
    •  Install a floor drain plug, standpipe, overhead sewer or sewer backup valve to prevent sewer back up flooding from the sewer main.
    •  More information can be found in Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House from Flooding. Copies are available at 
    •  Note that some flood protection measures require a building permit from this office. Please contact New Castle County Permitting Section at 395-5400 if you have questions regarding permit requirements.
  4. Contact the Department of Land Use for information on financial assistance. If you are interested in elevating your building above the base flood elevation or selling it to a public entity for the purpose of eliminating flood risk, you may be eligible for federal funding to cover up to 75% of the total cost. The availability of federal funding is limited and competitive.
  5. Obtain a flood insurance policy:
    •  A flood insurance policy will help pay for the repairs after a flood and, in some cases, help pay for the costs of elevating a substantially damaged building.
    •  Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, since New Castle County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy.  The insurance is backed by the federal government and is available to all homeowners. You can even purchase insurance for structures that have been flooded in the past.
    •  If your property is not mapped in a Special Flood Hazard Area, you may qualify for a Preferred Risk Policy which has a special low premium.
    •  Some individuals purchased flood insurance because it was required by their lending institution.  Many of these policies cover only the building and not the contents like furniture and stored items.  Make sure your policy covers contents if you feel the contents are at risk during a flood.
    •  Do not wait until the next flood to purchase flood insurance. There is a 30 day waiting period for new coverage under the NFIP.
    •  Contact your insurance agent for more information about rates and coverage.

Please contact the Department of Land Use at (302) 395-5400 if you have questions regarding this information. We will be happy to assist you.

FEMA, DNREC, and New Castle County hosted open house on updated flood risk information in New Castle County:

On May 23, 2017, about 360 people attended an open house, the first step in the process of adopting new flood risk maps, to hear from representatives of FEMA, DNREC and NCC about how the proposed map changes may affect their property. View the open house slide presentation (PDF). Please contact the Department of Land Use at 395-5400 if you have any questions regarding this topic. Or, you may visit DNREC’s website.