Flood Protection Information
Local Flood Hazard
Flooding in our community comes from four primary sources: 7-Mile Creek leaves its banks in some locations during and after heavy rainfall events, sometimes overflowing 155th Street, encroaching on yards in the Clear Creek Mobile Home Court, encroaching onto a portion of the City Park on North 2nd Street and sometimes overflowing K-5 Highway. 9-Mile Creek leaves its banks in some locations during and after heavy rainfall events, sometimes encroaching on properties in the Southern Hills, Rock Creek, Fawn Valley and Hillbrook neighborhoods, as well as the Rock Creek commercial area and the Wiley Mobile Home Court, and overflowing K-5 Highway. The Missouri River floods from time to time and can breach the levee system, creating flood conditions over K-5 Highway and into the lower reaches of 7-Mile Creek and 9-Mile Creek. Brief localized flooding may occur in many locations throughout the City during these intense rainfall events. (Note: Flood insurance covers all surface floods, even in locations not associated with a mapped flood plain.) Some flooding may occur from heavy snow melt but is generally less significant than that from heavy rainfall events or Missouri River flooding.
Check your flood risk. Flood maps and flood protection references are available at the Lansing Community Library, 730 First Terrace, Suite 1. You may also visit or contact the Lansing Public Works Department at 913-727-2400, located at 730 First Terrace, Suite 3, to see if your property is within a mapped floodplain. If so, staff can give you more information, such as the depth of flooding, past flood problems in the area, and copies of Elevation Certificates for most of the structures constructed in the floodplain since 2004. They can provide you with guidance on how to find an engineer, architect or contractor to assist you with solutions. If your property is in a floodplain or has experienced flooding, drainage or sewer backup problems, check these sources of assistance to help identify the source of the problem. City staff may have knowledge of locations outside the regulatory floodplain that have experienced localized flooding in the past.
Do not dump or throw anything into or on to the banks of ditches or streams. Dumping in ditches and streams is a violation of Lansing City Code 8-402(A)(1). Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels and smother desirable vegetation, destabilizing stream banks and accelerating sedimentation. A plugged channel cannot carry water away rapidly and results in flooding. Every piece of trash and every bit of sediment contributes to flooding. If your property is next to a ditch or stream, please do your part to keep the banks clear of brush and debris. City Code 8-402(C)(10) requires property owners to do so. In the case of large downed trees in drainage easements, please call the Lansing Public Works Department at 913-727-2400 for inspection and assistance.
Natural Floodplain Functions
Aside from managing brush and debris, do not disturb natural drainage ways. Preserving these areas in a natural riparian state helps to alleviate flooding and improve storm water runoff quality. Preserving large floodplain areas provides excellent natural habitat for a significant number of species.
Always check with the Public Works Department's Community Development Division before you build on, alter, re-grade or fill on your property. A permit may be needed to ensure projects do not cause problems for other properties. If you see building or filling without a City permit posted at the site, contact the Community Development Division at 913-727-2400. For more information on the floodplain management ordinance, click on this link.
There are several different ways to protect a building from flood damage. One way is to keep the water away by re-grading your lot or building a small floodwall 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. The Public Works Department can provide this information and is the local permitting agency if the proposed work requires a permit. Another approach is to make your walls waterproof and place watertight closures over 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. The cost for raising a small or moderately-sized house may be far less expensive than the uncovered loss from flooding. Some houses, even those not in the floodplain, have sewers that backup into the basement during heavy rains. A plug, standpipe or check valve can stop the backup in many situations. A licensed plumber can help you determine the appropriate method of protection and make the installation for you. The Public Works Department or Wastewater Department may be able to provide helpful information about these types of problems. These methods are called floodproofing or retrofitting. More information is available at the Lansing Community Library and the Public Works Department. 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 will help insure that you don't forget anything. For more information, check out FEMA's Homeowners Guide to Retrofitting: Six Ways to Protect Your House From Flooding.
If you don't have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. However, because Lansing participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy. The insurance is backed by the Federal government and available to everyone, even for properties that have been previously flooded. Some people have purchased flood insurance because it was required by the bank when they got a mortgage or home improvement loan. Usually these policies just cover the building's structure and not the contents. During the type of flooding that happens in Lansing, there is usually more damage to furniture and other contents than there is to the structure. Coverage for contents is available. Don't wait for the next flood to buy insurance protection. There is a 30-day waiting period before National Flood Insurance Program coverage takes effect. Contact your insurance agent for more information on rates and coverage. Remember, even if the last flood missed you, or if you have done some flood proofing, the next flood event could be worse. Flood insurance covers all surface floods. If your flooding problem is caused or aggravated by sewer backup, check out a sewer backup rider to your homeowner's insurance policy.
- Do Not Walk Through Flowing Water - Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths, occurring mostly during flash floods. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. If you must walk in standing water, use a pole or stick to ensure that you can safely cross the body of water.
- Do Not Drive Through A Flooded Area - More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around road barriers; the road or bridge could 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 the power company or city emergency management office.
- Have Your Electricity Turned Off By the Power Company - Some appliances, such as televisions, 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 items over and scare away small animals.
- Look Before You Step - After a flood, the ground and floors may be covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be extremely slippery.
- Be Alert for Gas Leaks - Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns or any open flame unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area ventilated.
Note on "Substantial Improvement"
Substantial Improvement means any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 50 percent of the market value of the structure before start of construction of the improvement. This term includes structures which have incurred substantial damage, regardless of the actual repair work performed. No permit for development shall be granted for new construction, substantial improvements and other improvements including the placement of manufactured homes within any numbered and unnumbered A Zones, AE, AO and AH Zones, unless the requirements of the Flood Damage Prevention Ordinance are satisfied. These requirements include but are not limited to constructing the lowest floor, including the basement, elevated to three feet above the base flood (100-year flood) elevation.