Flood Hazard Information
Fairfield has historically been prone to periodic flooding, dating back to 1982, 1983, 1986, 1996, 1998, and most recently in 2005. Thanks to the various flood protection projects, such as the Fairfield Streams Project completed in the early 1990’s, several areas alongside creeks which historically flooded were removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). Now, most of Fairfield is outside of the SFHA, however, there are a few areas in the city that are still within designated SFHA’s, as established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Some areas within Fairfield that are prone to flooding include properties adjacent to isolated reaches of Green Valley Creek, Dan Wilson Creek, Suisun Creek, Ledgewood Creek and Union Creek.
Property Protection Measures:
In 1971, the City passed an ordinance which regulates new development within the SFHA. Anyone planning to grade or build near these flood-prone areas should contact the Public Works Department to find out if the property is within a SFHA. Always check with the Building Division to see if you need a permit before you build on your property. If you suspect illegal building or grading in the SFHA, please contact the Public Works Department at (707) 428-7485.
For properties within the SFHA, it is wise to consider protecting properties from flooding. Some protection measures to consider are: (a) Locating structures outside of the SFHA, and (b) Elevating new structures using engineered fill or special foundations.
If a flood is imminent, existing buildings prone to flooding can be protected by sandbagging areas subject to the entry of water. You may also want to consider moving valuables and furniture to higher areas in the home if possible.
Fairfield joined the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1984. By participating in the program, homeowners are able to purchase flood insurance in case their home is damaged from a flood. NOTE: Flooding is NOT covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. Flood insurance is available for the building itself as well as for the building contents. Regardless of location, flood insurance is available to all property owners in the City. Residents who live near a stream channel that is subject to flooding are encouraged to purchase flood insurance. If you have a mortgage on a building within the SFHA, your lender may require flood insurance. Note that there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage goes into effect.
Fairfield participates in the NFIP’s Community Rating System (CRS), which is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements. As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the floodplain management activities.
Through the City’s active involvement in the CRS program, numerous floodplain management activities are being implemented. Because of this, properties within the SFHA now receive a 15% discount on their flood insurance premiums, (5% discount for properties outside of the SFHA).
Fairfield offers services to the community which include flood zone determinations and technical advice. Flood zone determinations are available to anyone interested in knowing if a property is within a SFHA. For a nominal fee of $20, the City will provide a letter indicating the flood zone for a particular property. Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) are also available for public use at the Fairfield-Suisun Public Library. Technical advice including site visits on how to best protect your property from flooding and general drainage-related problems is available to property owners within the City. To set up an appointment, please contact the Public Works Department.
The City also keeps Elevation Certificates on file. Elevation Certificates shall be copied to the Public Works Department for all existing structures located in the floodplain undergoing FEMA’s Letter of Map Revision process.
To take advantage of the city services, come to the 3rd floor of City Hall at 1000 Webster Street, between 8am-noon or 1-5:30pm Monday-Thursday, or call the Public Works Department at (707) 428-7485. Please be advised that flood determinations will not be made over the phone; determinations will only be made in person or by facsimile. The fax number for the Public Works Department is (707) 428-7607.
Drainage System Maintenance:
The City’s drainage system consists of two elements: natural channels (creeks and streams) and the constructed storm drain system (storm drain pipes). Maintenance of these elements is important in keeping the system’s flood carrying and storage capacity at a high level. Maintenance refers to the removal of silt, vegetation, trash and other types of debris from all system elements in an effort to maintain adequate capacity.
By way of City ordinance, it is illegal to dump trash, oils, or any other material in natural waterways or the City’s storm drainage system. Dispose of refuse only in designated areas. If you witness illegal dumping anywhere within the city limits, especially the City’s storm drainage system, contact the Fairfield Police switchboard at (707) 428-7300. By adhering to these guidelines, you can help reduce flooding within the city.