Addressing Stormwater Challenges in Flood-Prone Areas

Published on September 25, 2019

The safety of Arlington residents, homes and businesses is the County's overriding priority as intense, faster rainstorms have become more frequent. The flash flood on July 8, 2019, was the most recent reminder as the County — and parts of the region — received a month's worth of rain in just one hour.

Like many communities, Arlington is assessing the best ways to handle stormwater challenges, with a focus on resilience and adaptation. The goal is to manage emerging, dynamic changes while creating a flood resilient community.

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Flood Resilient Arlington Workshops:


At the Recessed Meeting on Tuesday, staff presented a "Stormwater Action Plan" to the County Board, which covered Arlington's stormwater history, development, today's climate trends and efforts being taken for a Flood Resilient Arlington. (View the complete Stormwater Action Plan PowerPoint

Highlighted Clips: 

Complete Presentation (starts at 1:31:31, with background on the flood event and immediate recovery efforts):

The Stormwater Master Plan, updated in 2014, continues to be the vision for the program that focuses on operations and maintenance of existing infrastructure, capital reinvestment and expansion, municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit compliance, and education and outreach.

There are other ongoing efforts and steps the County is pursuing to move toward a Flood Resilient Arlington model, and to assist homeowners and businesses, including:

  • Two public forums that will include experts on floodproof design, flood insurance and installation of floodproof measures. These workshops will include information about how you can protect your home and property from flash flooding from an expert on hazard mitigation and flood resilient design:

  • Site visits to high-risk flood area homes (those having received more than four feet of water during the July 8 storm) to connect residents to technical resources on possible private approaches to mitigate impacts to their property.

  • A Risk Assessment and Management Project (RAMP) to identify high risk flood areas based on historic, current and projected storm/rainfall trends, with recommendations for mitigation and adaption strategies.

  • The County's 10-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) presents a significant opportunity for investing in flood control and expanding infrastructure design and options. As part of the CIP, we are looking many options, from engineering solutions to maximizing open space for overland relief (safe overflow path for runoff in larger storm flows, when the stormwater pipe reaches capacity). Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to weigh in on the CIP, which will be updated in 2020.

MORE: A Flood Resilient Arlington