Request that county and city authorities, street departments, and highway garages to walk through your facility before a flood. Make sure authorities understand that you are concerned about the potential release of chemicals into floodwaters. Your Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) needs to understand that your facility is part of the community’s critical infrastructure that needs protection during an emergency. Make it clear that you will reimburse them for any products they return to your site. The message is that they can protect the community during a flood by bringing sand or loaning heavy-duty pumps.
Cooperation allows all parties to work together. Consider that all floods are costly. Flood damage to roads and buildings can cost towns and counties millions of dollars. When a flood strikes, community response and recovery assets may be scarce. Negotiating the use of and the cost of those assets before flooding may benefit your facility. Another critical issue in preparing for unexpected floods is to look at land-use planning around your facility. Pay attention to your surroundings and ask yourself some questions. Has development taken over large areas around your facility? Is your facility between a development on higher ground and a ditch or river at lower ground? If you answer yes to these questions, you might be prone to flooding that never occurred in your area before. At that point, you might take steps to work with the community to develop water holding areas, levees, or better drainage. You could also work with local authorities to keep debris from accumulating at bridges and clearing debris from streams and ditches. It’s also important to consider levees and drainage. For levees, it is not a matter of if they will fail, but of when they will fail. Almost all levees can fail at a certain level of flooding. Either water will wash over them or erode them to the point of breaking down and washing away. Levees can help, but they are not the first choice for flood control. In fact, they may be the last resort because levees pass the problem downstream to others where lives and property can be lost. Ditches and improved drainage can help, but these practices also pass the problem downstream. The wisest choice in flood preparation is proper planning up- and downstream. Overall, finding proper ways to retain water so it is allowed to drain away slowly is important. This takes community planning and action. Work with your community to develop retention basins, levees, or better drainage.