Floodplain Management

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Rebecca Finch, Floodplain Manager


Letter to Army Corps: Letter from County Council Chairman to the Army Corps of Engineers requesting a re-evaluation of the flood control project along Eagle Creek.

Eagle Chandler Creek Watershed Presentation: As presented to the Planning, Development and Building Committee of Council on Monday, September 18, 2017.

Stormwater Review Standards Presentation: As presented to County Council on Monday, October 1, 2017.

Flood Zone Determination

As a public service, Dorchester County will provide you with the following information upon request:

If a property is in or out of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) of the County.

Additional flood insurance data for a site, such as the Firm zone and the base flood elevation or depth, if shown on the FIRM.

Flood Insurance Rate Map and Zone Information

As a public service, Dorchester County will provide residents with the following information upon request:

  • If a property is in or out of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) as shown on the current Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) of the County.
  • Additional flood insurance data for a site, such as the Firm zone and the base flood elevation or depth, if shown on the FIRM.
  • We have a handout on the flood insurance purchase requirement that can help people who need a mortgage or loan for a property in the SFHA.


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I determine if my property is in a Special Flood Hazard Area?

Ask the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at FEMA Mapping at 1-877-336-2627 or Visit the FEMA website.

What is the Special Flood Hazard Area or Flood Hazard Zone?

The special flood hazard area also known as the flood hazard zone is the land that has a chance to be inundated by flood waters during certain rain events as determined by FEMA. In Dorchester County these areas are most common to be known as the 1% or 100-year flood hazard zone and it has a 1% chance of being inundated by flood waters any given year.

What is a Floodway?

The floodway is the area of land that was once inundated by flood waters and is accompanied with a moving current. This area is found mostly along rivers or streams and it is the most dangerous part of the flood hazard area. This area has significant development limitations and is preferred to remain undeveloped.

What regulations apply to construction activities within a flood hazard area?

The County’s Flood Prevention Ordinance requires specific construction and development standards for residential and non-residential structures, accessory buildings and sheds, and earth work (fill dirt) within special flood hazard areas.    

Residential structures or substantial improvements are required to have the finish floor elevation elevated two foot above the base  flood elevation.

Non-residential structures shall be elevated above the base flood elevation or flood-proofed to two foot above the base flood elevation to prevent water from entering. Development within a floodway is not  prohibited, however Dorchester County would prefer these areas remain undeveloped. Floodways do have limitations for development and if developed, must be placed within the floodway and special standards and guidelines, including engineering plans, must be presented and approved prior to any such development.

When do I need an elevation certificate and how do I get one?

For properties located in a special flood hazard area with a base flood elevation determined a South Carolina Registered Land Surveyor, Engineer or Architect must complete the elevation certificate. These areas are shown as “AE” on the FIRM.

For properties located in a special flood hazard area without a base flood elevation determined, the property owner's representative may complete the elevation certificate. These areas are  shown as “A” on the FIRM.

Elevation certificates are needed during and after the construction of homes within a special flood hazard area for the building permit process and by the Mortgage Company and/or Insurance Company when applying for flood insurance.

Do I need flood insurance and do I have enough  flood insurance?

You need flood insurance if your home or building is within a special flood hazard area. It is also a good idea to have flood insurance if your home or building is near a special flood hazard area.

Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage, a separate insurance policy just for flood waters is needed. For flood policy information, contact your local flood insurance agent or go to floodsmart.gov. Generally there is a 30-day waiting period for a flood insurance policy to become activated.

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program

Dorchester County has applied for FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds to assist select homeowners with the purchase of their flood-prone property. 

HMGP is a competitive grant which only becomes available after a state receives a federal disaster declaration. 

Based on very careful assessments, the County Building Services Department has identified 15 properties that have sustained substantial damage over the last 10 years, and have been deemed repetitive loss properties. 

The 15 property owners have been contacted and provided the necessary documentation to voluntarily participate in the program, should Dorchester County be awarded the funding. 

All purchased properties will have a deed restriction and will be returned to green space – no future dwellings will be permitted.