Residents can help protect their property from the effects of flooding by understanding the risk in their area and possible actions. For detailed information visit FEMA's For Homeowners, Renters & Business Owners. Any alteration to a building or land, including re-grading, filling or modifying a sewer line, requires a permit. For more information regarding building and site modifications, call Land Development Services at 703-324-1720, TTY 711.
Residents can help prevent flooding by keeping storm drains clear of trash and debris. Litter blocking storm drains may cause flooded streets, traffic delays and property damage. Please use the storm drain flooding report form to notify the county of blocked storm drains.
Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) are high risk areas that have a one-percent chance or more of being inundated by a base flood in any given year as identified by the National Flood Insurance Program maps. Floodplain management regulations must be enforced and mandatory purchase of flood insurance applies for these areas. For more information, visit FEMA Flood Map Service Center and FEMA National Flood Insurance Program.
To help customers develop quality construction plans for county review, Fairfax County has launched a GIS application, the Floodplain Viewer. Understanding the complexities of Fairfax’s floodplain data is key when considering potential construction in these areas. The Floodplain Viewer allows customers and the public to access centralized floodplain data and related information through one application.
Activities in the floodplain are regulated by the Fairfax County Zoning Ordinance, Article 5 Section 5105, and may require written approval from Land Development Services or a Special Exception approval by the Board of Supervisors. If you have question about floodplain regulations, call the Engineer of the Day at 703-324-1575, TTY 711.
Information regarding applications for Special Exception approval for uses in the floodplain is available from the Zoning Evaluation Division, Department of Planning and Zoning, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Suite 801, Fairfax, VA 22035-5504, or by calling 703-324-1290, TTY 711.
National Flood Insurance Program
Most homeowner insurance policies do not cover damage caused by flooding. The National Flood Insurance Program was created to enable property owners in participating communities, including Fairfax County, to purchase flood insurance protection. Properties that have been officially identified as being in a Special Flood Hazard Area and that have a federally backed mortgage are required to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. However, the program is available to all property owners, including owners of properties that have been flooded and properties located outside of Special Flood Hazard Areas.
Flood insurance policies that have been purchased as a bank or lender requirement, or in order to obtain a mortgage or home improvement loan, may cover the structure but may not cover the contents of the property. Property owners should review and discuss their policy with their insurance carrier to ensure their needs are adequately covered. Additional information is available on the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program, by calling 1-800-427-4661, or by writing to: Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street SW, Washington, DC 20472.
Community Rating System
The Community Rating System is a voluntary program for recognizing and encouraging community floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum standards set up for the National Flood Insurance Program. The program does this by adjusting flood insurance rates to reflect the reduced flood risks that are a result of community activities that reduce flood losses, facilitate accurate insurance ratings and promote awareness of flood insurance.
Fairfax County has participated in the program since 1993 and is one of five Class 6 jurisdictions in the Commonwealth of Virginia. A Class 6 CRS rating community under Risk Rating (RR) 2.0 allows property owners in the County to obtain a 20% reduction in flood insurance premiums. RR 2.0 rating methodology incorporates a wide range of rating variables; however, flood zone and Base Flood Elevations are no longer used. So, the reduction applies to all policies irrespective of whether the property is located within the Special Flood Hazard Area or outside. A policy in Zone X receives the same discount as a policy in Zone AE.
There are a number of large dams in Fairfax County; some are privately owned, and others are owned or maintained by the county or other public entities. There are many small, man-made ponds or impoundments, some of which include dams as part of the structure.
Any development proposed within the mapped dam break inundation zones of state regulated dams must be identified on all preliminary plats, subdivision plans, site plans and minor site plan submissions. More information, including maps, can be found in the Development in Dam Break Inundation Zones website.