The Floodplain in Bloomsburg was created by the Susquehanna River on the south and Fishing Creek on the north and west boundaries of the Town. Their levels rise and fall. When they rise above flood stage, they can cover up to 1/3 of the landmass within the Town’s Boundaries.
Floods on the Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek can be caused by heavy rain, snowmelt, or ice jams. On Fishing Creek they can come with little or no warning. Floods can stay up for several days, isolating areas and causing increased damage to property. Check the Bloomsburg Flood Gauge.
Floodplain Manager Phil Prout BCO, CFM of Barry Isett & Associates
Know Your Risks
Anywhere it can rain, it can flood
We all live with the risk of flood damage to our property. Learn more details about your home’s level of flood risk, including the type of flood zone it is in, and if available the potential flood elevation (referred to as the “base flood elevation” on a flood map).
High water affects homes along River Road
High water affects the fairgrounds & surrounding area
A number of homes located between fairgrounds and the river are affected
FEMA 10% Annual chance flood level
Much of the fairgrounds, as well as adjacent areas, are affected by high water
Airport, sewage treatment plants, and the racetrack are affected
FEMA 1% annual chance of flood level
Flood of record Tropical Storm Lee in 2011
FEMA 0.2% annual chance of flood
Flood waters begin to reach the Rupert Bridge in Catawissa
Know what past floods have done. The Town of Bloomsburg has experienced four floods that were higher than the base flood (28ft). Tropical Storm Lee in September 2011 the flood level reached 32.75 feet. In 1904, flood levels reached 32.7 feet. Flooding caused by Hurricane Agnes in 1972 reached 31 feet and in 2006 flood levels reached 28.8 feet.
Flooding occurs in Bloomsburg when water levels at the Bloomsburg gauge reach 19 feet. The Town recorded measurable flooding in 1975 (27.5 ft); 2004 (27.1 ft) and seven floods greater than 23 feet occurred in 1979, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1993, 1996, and 2005. In March 2011, a flood level of 22.57 was reached.
See if your property is in the mapped floodplain and subject to overbank flooding by calling the Code Enforcement and Zoning Office at 570-784-7703. Find out what past floods have done. Elevation Certificates for some properties are on file and available at Town Hall in the Code Enforcement Office.
What can you do?
First, find out what flooding can do to you. See if your property is in the mapped floodplain and subject to overbank flooding by calling the Code Enforcement and Zoning Officer at 784-7703. Find out how deep it could be and what past floods have done.
Second, protect yourself and your family during a flood. Read the later section on flood safety.
Third, several of the Town’s efforts depend on your cooperation and assistance. Here is how you can help:
- Do not dump or throw anything into the channels or drainage ways. Even grass clippings and branches can accumulate and plug channels. A plugged channel cannot carry water and when it rains the water has to go somewhere. Every piece of trash contributes to flooding.
- You can do your part in helping the drainage system work. Sweep or pick up your gutters to prevent blockages in the storm sewers. Pick up trash and fallen branches in the ditches.
- If you see dumping or debris in the channels or drainage ways, contact the Public Works Department at 570-784-2300.
- Always check with the Code Enforcement and Zoning Officer before you build on, alter, regrade, or fill on your property. A permit may be needed to ensure that projects do not cause problems on other properties.
- If you see a building or filling without a permit sign posted, contact the Code Enforcement and Zoning Office at 570-784-7703.
Fourth, check out how you can protect your property. Read the later sections on floodproofing and insurance. If you have any questions or want more information on flood protection, talk to the Code Enforcement and Zoning Office at 570-784-7703.
Before a Flood
Before a Flood
During a Flood
During a Flood
After a Flood
After a Flood
Flood Protection Measures
Phase 1 Flood Wall – Oct.11, 2016
The Columbia County flood wall surrounding the Autoneum plant and the former Windsor Foods Factory was officially dedicated.
Phase 2 Flood Wall – Oct 7, 2020
The second phase of the flood wall protecting the Bloomsburg High & Middle School Complex along with approximately 100 homes was dedicated.
The town of Bloomsburg also...
– Participates in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System – provides a flood insurance premium discount available to anyone: The property owner or renter may purchase NFIP insurance
– Regulates Construction in the floodplain to assure compliance with flood ordinances. Click to view the floodplain permit
– The Public Works department inspects and cleans the streets, channels, and drainage ways. Keeping them clear reduces the chances that blockages will cause flooding on adjacent properties.
– Purchased eleven Repetitive loss properties in the 900 block of West Main Street.
– Completed two home elevation projects through grant funding. Two additional homes pending
– Active participant in the Columbia County Hazard Mitigation Plan adopted on April 6th, 2023.
– Participated in a Regional stormwater study completed in November 2020.
– Participating in Columbia County Fishing Creek Study
Floods are the nation’s most common and costly natural disaster, causing billions of dollars in damage each year.
Homeowners and renters insurance does not typically cover flood damage.
Bloomsburg is a Class 7
CRS Community. All NFIP policies receive a 15% discount
Any house in Bloomsburg can be covered by a flood insurance policy. Detached garages and accessory buildings are covered under the policy for the main building. There are two types of coverage which can be purchased separately.
STRUCTURAL Covers everything that stays with a house when it is sold, including the furnace, cabinets, built in appliances and wall to wall carpeting.
CONTENTS Covers furniture and other personal possessions except for money, valuable papers and the like.
There is no coverage for things outside the house like the driveway and landscaping. If you have a policy check it closely. You may only have structural coverage (because that’s all that banks require).
Don’t wait for the next flood to buy flood insurance. There is a 30 day waiting period before NFIP coverage takes effect.
Bloomsburg Flood Ordinance
Reduce Your Risk. Decide how to prepare your family and protect your home from flooding. Based on your home’s flood risk, create a plan to mitigate the risk to your property. Even after a mitigation project, some risk will remain, so learn about more actions to prepare and protect your family, home, and belongings at www.ready.gov/make-a-plan
Floodproofing a house means altering it so floodwaters will not cause damage. Different floodproofing techniques are appropriate for different types of buildings. Use the following as a guideline:
An excellent source for more information is Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting: (FEMA Publication 312). It can be read at the Bloomsburg Public Library (225 Market Street), ordered (for free) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency by calling 800-480-2520.
No matter what kind of building you have, some last-minute emergency measures can always help. For example, you could move valuable items (photos, antiques, and other “irreplaceables” etc.) or items that are most damaged by floodwaters (upholstered furniture, stuffed toys, mattresses, etc.) up to a higher level. You can place sandbags or plastic sheeting in front of doorways and other low entry points. Whatever emergency protection measures you use, it is always best to have a plan written in advance to make sure you don’t forget anything after you hear the flood warning. Keep in mind the flood safety hints in the preceding section. The Red Cross has some additional suggestions. The substantial damage requirements are explained in more detail in Answers to Questions About Substantially Damaged Buildings.
The ordinance requires that all substantial improvements to a building will require the entire building to be treated as a new building. A substantial improvement is when the value of an addition, alteration, repair, or reconstruction project exceeds 50% of the value of the existing building. In the case of an addition, only the addition must be protected. In the case of an improvement to the original building, the entire building must be protected from future substantial damages.