How to prevent and/or contain flooding on your property:
Make sure you have a sump pump installed and tested to ensure it is working properly.
- For a typical single family to 4-unit building, the pump should be sized for at least 3,600 gallons per hour.
- Consider a battery-operated backup, in case of a power failure. Installing a water alarm will also let you know if water is accumulating in your basement.
Make sure you have a spare, portable sump pump on hand for when flooding does occur.
- 3,600 gallon per hour pumps are available at most local hardware & plumbing stores, Home Depot, Lowes and Grainger for approximately $150.00.
- Be sure to include a hose and an electrical extension cord for an additional $20.00.
Important Note: Do not leave the electrical connection outdoors, submerged in water or exposed to moisture.
Install a back flow preventer (aka check valve) on your sewer line before it enters your building.
- Cast Iron is recommend and available from most local plumbing supply stores, Home Depot, Lowes and Grainger for approximately $199.99
- PVC is lower cost option at approximately $59.99, although not as durable as cast iron.
- Be sure to use a licensed plumber and have the plumber obtain the necessary permit from the Hoboken Construction Office, located on the ground floor of city hall. Including permits, installation should cost approximately $300.00 to $550.00 above the cost of the device, but is well worth the investment.
A cleanout access door must be installed adjacent to the backflow preventer and checked at least everything three (3) months to prevent blockages (i.e. toilet papers and other debris).
Have sand bags (aka tube sand, mason sand, etc.) on hand and ready to create a flood barrier around your property. Sand bags are available at Home Depot and Lowes for approximately $3.99 per 50 pound bag.
- Be sure not to located sand bag barriers against doors which are used as a means of egress.
Have removable flood gates on hand, preferably installed prior to the storm, to prevent floor waters from infiltrating your property.
- Gates can be ordered from local door & hardware stores, starting at approximately $250.
- Be sure not to block means of egress from the building.
Raise your electrical components (switches, sockets, circuit breakers, and wiring) at least 12 inches above your home’s projected flood elevation. In basements, consider installing electrical equipment 48” above the floor.
Place the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer on cement blocks at least 12 inches from your home’s projected flood elevation.
Replace existing concrete in front of your building by installing a tree pit. The pit will allow storm water to be naturally absorbed by the soil and tree, and remove ease the burden on the sewer system.
- Total cost should be approximately $350 to $500 using a local, professional landscaper.
- The pit should be 5’ x 5’ and no less than 3’ x 3’ to allow the tree roots to establish and grow, but must still allow a 3’ to 6’ path for pedestrians.
- A permit can be obtained by simply faxing or hand delivering the completed one (1) page permit application to the Department of Environmental Services. A permit is normally granted within 48 hours.
- Tree permits can be download at: http://www.hobokennj.org/docs/board/stc/HPU_Tree_Permit_2011-10.pdf
Install a rain barrel to collect run off from your roof (minimum 50 gallons). The water can be held until the storm subsides, and/or used later for irrigation.
- A variety of rain barrels are available at Home Depot, Lowes and online.
- The prices will range from approximately $50 to $350 depending on size and aesthetic look.
- Be sure to install a filter to prevent mosquitos from entering the barrel and laying eggs.
- Adding certain fish, such as goldfish, to open rain barrels will eliminate new mosquito eggs from hatching (the fish eat them) and provides a nice outdoor feature.
- Also be sure to empty and disconnect your barrel in the winter to prevent damage from freezing.
Install a drywell.
- Pipe your roof gutter and drainage system to a drywell, which will then overflow to the sewer system. While the cost is significantly higher than a rain barrel (typically starting at $1,000), a drywell will hold hundreds to thousands of gallons and allow the stormwater to naturally infiltrate the soil.
Minimize water use during intense storms; if the sewer is overflowing the water will not be able to leave your building and will most likely result in a flood.
Install low flow fixtures to reduce the amount of water being added to the overburdened sewer system, for example:
- Dual flush toilets, or toilets with a maximum flow rate of 1.28 gallons per flush.
- Bathroom faucets with 0.5 gallon per minute aerator.
- Kitchen faucets with maximum 1.5 gallon per minute
- Showerheads with a maximum 1.75 gallons per minute.
- EnergyStar rated and/or front loading washing machines.
- EnergsStar rated dishwashers.
Replace your sidewalk and driveways with pervious pavement, which allows water to infiltrate naturally into the soil below.
- The approximate cost will be between $6 and $25 per square foot, depending on product type and aesthetics.
- There are lower cost options available such as Grasspaver® and Driveable Grass® which can be planted to add a splash of color; the vegetation will also provide a cooling effect in the summer. Be sure to plant low maintenance sedums which do not require cutting and can stand up to foot traffic.
Install a green roof (aka vegetated roof).
- New construction or renovation projects should include adding minimum of 4” soil and low maintenance sedum to the roof, which will absorb stormwater and slowly evaporate back to the atmosphere. This not only keeps the rain out of the sewer, but helps insulate your building, prolongs the life of the roof membrane and provides a cooling effect in the summer.
- Existing buildings should look at lightweight green roof systems, such as GaiaSoil.
- The installed cost will be approximately $6 to $30 per square foot, depending on soil depth and plant variety.
Install ground level landscaping.
- Replacing any hardscape (stone, concrete, asphalt, etc) with vegetation and soil will absorb stormwater and ease the burden on the sewer system during intense storms.
When cleaning up after the flood:
- Be sure to mop up and wash down any affected surfaces using bleach, antimicrobial soap or other disinfectant.
- Open windows and set up blower fans to accelerate the drying process.
- Open up any drywalled areas to allow the wall cavities to properly dry out.
- Any materials that have been wet for more than 24 to 48 hours after the flood are at a high risk of growing mold and should be treated by a mold specialist or discarded.
- Contact a local Certified Industrial Hygeniest to test the air and surfaces for E. Coli, mold and other dangerous pathogens.