Kittleman announces agreement with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct flood-proofing study

Published Sept. 30, 2016

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced that the County has signed an agreement with the United States Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a flood-proofing assessment for Ellicott City’s Main Street area.

Main Street Ellicott City was significantly damaged during a July 30 flash flood when six inches of rain fell in less than two hours. Access to portions of the historic community is still limited while merchants and building owners rebuild their properties.

Kittleman said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, will gather data from more than a dozen buildings in the Main Street corridor between the Patapsco River and US 29, using these mix of commercial and residential buildings as examples of the kinds of structures that could benefit from flood proofing. The Corps would then offer recommendations for measures that could be taken by property owners.

“As we rebuild Main Street, it only makes sense to get experts such as the Army Corps of Engineers to propose solutions,” Kittleman said. “The findings from these assessments will help us to make Ellicott City stronger than ever. I am committed to rebuilding the town in a way that makes it a model resilient community.”

Examples of nonstructural flood-proofing measures include elevation of buildings, moving valuables to higher locations, raising utilities and waterproofing buildings by applying sealant and installing closures on doors and windows. The study will also take the historic nature of buildings into consideration, Kittleman said.

Stacey Underwood, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Floodplain Management Services Program manager, said the Corps will work with multiple partners throughout the study, including Howard County, National Weather Service, U.S. Geological Survey, Maryland Department of the Environment and Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

“For many of us at the Baltimore District, this flood hit close to home, and we are happy to help out in whatever way we can," said Underwood. "It is important for the public to know that flood proofing would not have prevented the damages sustained during the flood this summer. However, certain flood-proofing measures may reduce flood risk during less severe floods."

The Corps will work with partners to collect information on the July 30 flood, as well as review data and modeling from Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 and other storm events to incorporate into the study.

The Corps will provide to Howard County building elevation surveys for the approximately 100 buildings in the 500-year floodplain in Ellicott’s historic district. This baseline data will be useful for the county to understand what the flood risk is for each building.

Upon completion of the study, which will take about a year to complete, the Corps will prepare a report for Howard County summarizing the results of the building surveys and flood-proofing evaluations, as well as include an economic analysis, Kittleman said. Based on the results, the Corps will recommend to the county whether flood-proofing is a viable option for the historic structures.

Link to official release: 

Mark Miller (Howard County)
Sarah Gross

Release no. 16-026