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Development in a Special Flood Hazard Area

All property owners need to ensure that their buildings and structures are designed and built to reduce flood risks. If your property is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area, additional permitting and inspection requirements may apply to your construction activities. Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) consist of land in the District of Columbia’s floodplain subject to a 1-percent (1%) chance or greater chance of flooding in any given year.

Special Flood Hazard Areas in the District of Columbia are identified in the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The FIRM provides an official depiction of flood hazards for each community in the country by property address. Before undertaking any construction project in the District of Columbia, the property owner should consult the FIRM and determine the flood risk for the property address. The District of Columbia FIRM may be accessed through the website for the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE). Additional information to assist you in reading the FIRM or flood map can be found at the DOEE website.

Due to the complexity of the Floodplain Management program, and the multiple agencies involved (e.g., DCRA, DOEE and HSEMA), it is strongly recommended that any questions during the project planning stage be directed to DOEE's Watershed Protection Division, Technical Services Branch, at (202) 535-2240. An Overview of Regulatory Requirements for development in an SFHA can be accessed here.