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Flood Hazard Areas

A few locations in Crystal Lake are considered flood hazard areas. Most of these flood hazard areas are located along streams, such as Woods Creek and Crystal Creek, as well as Crystal Lake. For more information on the City's Stormwater Solutions, click here

Residents can come to City Hall or talk to an Engineer to determine what properties are in the 100-year floodplain. Additionally, maps and other flood-related information are available to review. The City has Elevation Certificates, available back to 1990, for new development. Please contact the Engineering Division for further assistance. 

10 Flood Safety Tips

The following common sense guidelines will help constituents from the dangers of flooding: 

  1. Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in cars than anywhere else. Do not drive around barriers. 
  2. Do not walk through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive. Six inches of water can knock you off your feet. 
  3. Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. If your house is about to be flooded, turn off the power at the service box. Electrical current can travel through water. Electrocution is the second leading cause of death during floods. 
  4. Be alert to gas leaks. Turn off the gas to your house before it floods. If you smell gas, report it to a City official or your gas company. Do not use candles, lanterns or open flames if you smell gas or are unsure if your gas has been shut off. 
  5. Keep children away from the flood waters, ditches, culverts, and storm drains. Flood waters can carry unimaginable items that have dislodged themselves. 
  6. Culverts may suck smaller people into them rendering them helpless. 
  7. Clean everything that has been wet. Floodwater will be contaminated with sewage and other chemicals, which pose severe health threats. 
  8. Look out for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their home may seek shelter in yours. 
  9. Do not use gas engines, such as generators, or charcoal fires indoors during power outages. Carbon monoxide exhaust can pose serious health hazards.
  10. Use the Crystal Lake Emergency Preparedness Guide for additional flooding precautions. 

Property Protection Measures

If your property is susceptible to flooding, there are many flood damage reduction measures you can employ. Check sump pumps regularly, apply watertight seals to brick and block walls, elevate water heaters and other major appliances, move furniture and valuable items to higher floors, sandbag exterior openings, and elevate or relocate the entire structure (if applicable). 

Floodplain Permit Requirements

All development within the 100-year floodplain (not just construction of buildings, but filling, excavation, fences, etc.) is required to obtain a permit from the City. Applications must be made prior to doing any work in a floodplain area. Please contact the Engineering Division to receive all the information you will need in order to properly develop in the floodplain. You may report any illegal development activities to the Engineering Division as well. 

Substantial Improvement or Damage

The National Flood Insurance Program requires that if the cost of improvements to a building or the cost to repair damages (from any cause) to a building exceeds 50% of the market value of the building (excluding land value), the entire building must be brought up to current floodplain management standards for buildings in the floodplain.

Building improvement projects include: exterior and interior remodeling, rehabilitation, additions, and repair and reconstruction projects. Additionally, the cost of currently planned improvements will be added to the cost of previously made improvements. The information will be compared to the existing market value in order to determine if the improvements exceed 50% of the structure’s value. Please contact the Crystal Lake Engineering Division for further information.

Flood Insurance 

If you do not have flood insurance, talk to your insurance agent. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Flood insurance is only available to those participating communities in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Crystal Lake is a part of the NFIP, which allows residents to obtain flood insurance. Additionally, the City participates in FEMA’s CRS program therefore flood insurance premiums are discounted. 

Check your policy to ensure you have adequate coverage; usually these policies cover the building structure, but not the contents, although contents coverage can also be obtained. There is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance coverage becomes effective therefore we encourage residents to plan ahead. If you plan to build inside the floodplain and intend to use a federally regulated and insured bank for a loan, you are required to purchase flood insurance.

Residents who own or are considering the purchase of a home in the floodplain should remain aware of any mandatory flood insurance requirements by their lender. Flood insurance is mandatory for federally backed mortgages and secured mortgages on buildings located in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) that are mapped on a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). The current Flood Insurance Rate Maps for Crystal Lake can be viewed here

Can I Eliminate My Flood Insurance Requirement?

There are a few options to try and eliminate the mandatory flood insurance requirement.* If the grade surrounding your home is at an elevation higher than the established base flood elevation, a property owner can request documentation from FEMA called a "Letter of Map Amendment" (LOMA) that would eliminate the mandatory flood insurance requirement. 

To obtain this documentation from FEMA, a licensed surveyor must measure the elevation of your home and surrounding grades, and then compare them to the established base flood elevations in FEMA’s Flood Insurance Rate Map and Flood Insurance Study. The Elevation Certificate Form and a LOMA Application are completed by the surveyor and signed by the homeowner as well as the City Engineer before submission to FEMA. If approved by FEMA, a letter will be sent back to the homeowner and the City will acknowledge the removal of the structure and/or property from the floodplain.
*As a reminder, this option is only available to homes that are currently situated in areas above the surrounding floodplain. New fill cannot be placed around a home to avoid mandatory flood insurance without proper permits and compensatory storage mitigation.

Natural and Beneficial Functions of the Floodplain

Floodplains play a valuable role in providing natural and beneficial functions to the area around, and including, Crystal Lake. Floodplains that are relatively undisturbed provide a wide range of benefits to both human and natural systems. These benefits provide aesthetic pleasure as well as function to provide active processes such as filtering nutrients.

Floodplains are used as a means to filter farm chemical run-off so that these areas can maintain biodiversity and ecosystem sustainability. Floodplains contain historic and archaeological sites that yield opportunities for education and study. They enhance waterfowl, fish, and other wildlife habitats as well as provide feeding and breeding grounds. Lastly, floodplains provide natural erosion control and open space so further flooding damage does not occur.

Drainage System Maintenance

Keeping smaller ditches and streams free of debris can dramatically improve the run-off capacity of low-lying areas as well as greatly reduce the overland flow blockage that significantly contributes to flooding. It is illegal to dump materials into a waterway and violators may be fined. If you see someone in the act of dumping or see debris in one of our watercourses, please contact the Engineering Division.