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 July 24, 2017  
 Departments R-WWater ResourcesFlood Protection Information   

Effective May 1, 2013, citizens of unincorporated Effingham County who live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (commonly referred to as a flood zone) are eligible for 15% discounts on flood insurance, thanks to the County’s participation in the Community Rating System (CRS) program.

CRS is a voluntary FEMA incentive program that recognizes and encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed the National Flood Insurance Program minimum requirements.  The objective of CRS is to reward communities that are doing more to help their citizens prevent or reduce flood losses.

FEMA has recognized Effingham County’s superior performance in managing local floodplains by awarding a Class 7 rating.  Out of the nearly 700 counties and cities in Georgia, only 45 are currently qualified for CRS, and of those, only 8 have a better rating than Effingham County.

Unincorporated County residents not located in a Special Flood Hazard Area are eligible for 5% discounts (Preferred Risk Policy holders excluded).  Contact your insurance agent to sign up for flood insurance and take advantage of these savings.  For more about CRS, visit this link.

From the Floodplain Administrator Minimize
We are responsible for the unincorporated area of Effingham County.  If your property is within the City Limits of Guyton, Rincon, or Springfield and you have a floodplain management question, please contact your respective City Hall.

The County Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance is available on-line.  If you have any questions about the ordinance or its requirements, please let me know.

Thanks to investments by Effingham County, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GA DNR), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), analysis of flood risk has been updated in unincorporated Effingham County.  Preliminary digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (DFIRM) have been developed to reflect current flood risks based on the latest technology and most current information, which will be used by permit officials to regulate development in the floodplain, once the revised maps become effective later this year.  To learn more about how your property is impacted, how your flood risk has changed, and the options available, you are encouraged to view the preliminary maps on the County's GIS mapping website or on GA DNR's website.
Special Flood Hazard Information Minimize
Effingham County flood insurance rate maps were revised in 2015 as part of the Georgia DNR's Coastal Physical Map Revision project. 

  Title Category
Edit National Flood Insurance Program Information Website
Edit Georgia Coastal Physical Map Revision Website
Edit Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains PDF Link
Edit National Weather Service - Flood Safety Website
Edit Floodplain Management In Georgia - Quick Guide PDF Link
Edit FEMA FAQ's for Homeowners Website
Edit Effective Flood Hazard Areas PDF
Edit FEMA Map Service Center Website
Edit Find Your Flood Risk Using Your Address Website

Effingham County's current digital flood insurance rate map (DFIRM) became effective on March 16, 2015. A map summarizing the special flood hazard areas is available via the link above. If you have any questions about floodplains or the County regulations on development in floodplains, feel free to contact County Engineer Wesley Sherrod.
Flood Protection Information Minimize
Local Flood Hazard

County Flood Services: The first thing to do is check your level of flood hazard. Flood maps and flood protection references are available under Special Flood Hazard Information (below left), and also at the Development Services office. You can call, e-mail, or visit the Historic Courthouse to see if you are in a mapped floodplain. If so, we can give you more information, such as depth of flooding over a building’s first floor, past flood problems in the area, and copies of elevation certificates on buildings built in the floodplain.  Even if you are not in a floodplain, there still may be some risk of flooding.  If needed, we can visit a property to review its flood problem and explain ways to stop flooding or prevent flood damage.  If you are in a floodplain or have had a flood, drainage or sewer backup problem, we can connect you with sources of assistance.

Flood Safety

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there.
  • Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don’t drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to Georgia Power or the County emergency management office.
  • Have your electricity turned off by Georgia Power. Some appliances, such as television sets, keep electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, and dried.
  • Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn things over and scare away small animals.
  • Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
  • Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated.
Property Protection

There are several different ways to protect a building from flood damage. One way is to keep the water away by regrading your lot or building a small flood-wall or earthen berm. These methods work if your lot is large enough, if flooding is not too deep, and if your property is not in the floodway.  Be careful not to simply divert or back up water onto your neighbor.  Another approach is to make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over the doorways. This method is not recommended for houses with basements or if water will get over two feet deep.  A third approach is to raise the house above flood levels. A small wood frame house can be elevated for less than $10,000.

Many houses, even those not in the floodplain, have sewers that back up during heavy rains. A plug or standpipe can stop this if the water doesn’t get more than one or two feet deep. They can be purchased at a hardware store for under $25. For deeper sewer backup flooding, talk to a plumber about overhead sewers or a backup valve.

These measures are called flood proofing or retrofitting.  Important note: any alteration to your building requires a permit from the Building Department. Even regrading or filling in the floodplain requires a permit from the Development Services office.

If you know a flood is coming, you should shut off the gas and electricity and move valuable contents upstairs. It is unlikely that you will get much warning, so a detailed checklist prepared in advance would help ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Elevation Certificates

As a public service, Effingham County will provide copies of completed FEMA Elevation Certificates for most buildings built in the floodplains of the unincorporated area upon request, if available.

Wetlands / Floodplains

Although Wetlands and Floodplains are often considered synonymous, they have distinct differences.
Floodplains are land areas susceptible to partial or complete inundation from the overflow of inland or tidal waters, or from the unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source.  Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) are those areas of the floodplain subject to flooding by the 1% annual chance storm event.  In the SFHAs, flood insurance is required by mortgage companies under federal law, and the County assures that all new construction complies with the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance.

On the other hand, the federal Clean Water Act defines Wetlands as those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.  Wetlands are regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
While they often coexist, not all floodplains are wetlands, and not all wetlands are floodplains.  The terms are not interchangeable.
Flood Safety Information Minimize

Know where floods are likely to occur. View one of the links under Special Flood Hazard Information to determine if your location is in danger of flooding.


Stay connected to always be ready for a flood.  Friend the Effingham EMA, Effingham Fire, and Effingham Sheriff Facebook pages for the latest news on road closures, flood advisories, and safety messages.  Download the Emergency American Red Cross for alerts in your area at Emergency American Red Cross.  Visit Ready Georgia at Ready Georgia to learn more about local and statewide planning tools as well as evacuation routes.

Stay tuned in to local broadcasting (T.V. and radio) stations whenever severe weather is threatening the area. Local channels can provide timely information specific to our area when a person can get to a T.V. or radio while traveling (we would not suggest checking Facebook or apps while driving.)


It is important for individuals and families to have pre-made plans for sheltering at home or events requiring evacuation.  Plans should 
incorporate emergency supply kits, important papers, evacuation routes, and methods of communication.  This includes plans for wildfires,
floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and severe local storms that could shut down roadways.  Examples of plans and tool kits can be found
at http://ready.ga.gov/make-a-plan.  A copy of the County evacuation plan can be found online:  Emergency Evacuation Plan.


Please take note of the Evacuation Routes: Evacuation Routes.pdf
All assistance living facilities in Effingham are required to have their own plans for evacuation and transportation. Individuals housed at these facilities and their families are encouraged to become familiar with these plans and any updates. Anyone with special needs and who will require assistance during an evacuation can register through the Effingham EMA office using this form Functional Needs Registration Form. The form can be printed, and once completed, should be filed at the Effingham Health Dept.
Contact Information Minimize
Brian Adlerstein: Civil Engineer, E.I.T.
Effingham County Board of Commissioners
601 N. Laurel Street
Springfield, Georgia 31329
Telephone: (912) 754-8063

Your floodplain manager is an active member of both the Georgia Association of Floodplain Management (GAFM) and the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), and is also a Certified Floodplain Manager by ASFPM.  These outstanding professional organizations serve to advance the cause of minimizing flood damage in Georgia and the nation.  Please visit their websites for further information:


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