Floodplain Information

Local Flood Hazard

The dominant source of flooding in Pitt County is riverine flooding.

Riverine flooding from heavy rainfall occurs on the:
  • Black Swamp
  • Briery Swamp
  • Chicod Creek
  • Clayroot Swamp
  • Conetoe Creek
  • Contentnea Creek
  • Cow Swamp
  • Creeping Swamp
  • Crisp Creek
  • Fork Swamp
  • Great Branch
  • Grindle Creek
  • Gum Swamp
  • Hardee Creek
  • Harris Mill Run
  • Hunting Run
  • Indian Wells Swamp
  • Jacob Branch
  • Juniper Branch
  • Kitten Creek
  • Lawerence Run
  • Little Contentnea Creek
  • Meadow Branch
  • Middle Swamp Marsh
  • Middle Swamp
  • Moyes Run-Cannon Swamp
  • Otter Creek
  • Pea Branch
  • Poley Branch
  • Swift Creek
  • Tar River
  • Tranters Creek
  • The Tributaries of Baldwin Swamp
  • The Tributaries of Pinelog Branch
  • Tyson Creek
North Carolina also experiences hurricanes, tropical storms, and severe extra-tropical cyclones, known as "Nor'easters." These storms passing through the county have historically produced flooding and property damage. Flood losses are also caused by the cumulative effect of obstructions in the floodplain causing increases in flood heights and velocities, and by the occupancy in flood hazard areas vulnerable to floods or hazardous to other lands, which are inadequately elevated, flood proofed, or otherwise unprotected from flood damages.

View a map of Pitt County's Flood Hazard Areas (PDF).

Flood Plain Development Permit Requirements

Prior to the initiation of any development work in a flood hazard area local permits must be applied for an issued to ensure that it will not aggravate the effects of flooding and that the structures are flood damage resistant.

Development work includes:
  • Alteration of shore bank or bottom of any waterway
  • Bulk heading
  • Clearing or Alteration of Land Prior to Building
  • Dredging
  • Driving of piles
  • Dumping
  • Excavation
  • Filling
Please contact the Pitt County Building Inspections Department at 902-3185 or the Planning Department at 902-3250 if you are planning to perform any of the previously mentioned development work.

Property Protection Measures

Every year, flooding causes more property damage in the United States than any other type of natural disaster. While recent improvements in construction practices have made new homes less prone to flood damage, there are a significant number of existing houses that continue to be susceptible to repetitive losses. Many of these homeowners feel they are trapped in a never ending cycle of flooding and repairing. The house is rarely the same, and its value usually declines.

However, there are ways this cycle of repetitive flooding can be broken. Throughout the country, many examples can be found to illustrate practical and cost-effective methods for reducing or eliminating the risk of a house being flooded again. Or in cases where flooding may be unavoidable, steps are taken to reduce the amount of damages incurred. Some have reduced their flood losses by taking temporary measures such as moving furniture and equipment to upper floors or to higher elevations. Others have held back rising waters by sandbagging or building temporary levees. More permanent approaches have also been used. The Federal Insurance Administration has published a manual that describes various techniques that can be used to flood proof an existing building. This process is known as "retrofitting."

The Design Manual for Retrofitting Floodprone Structures presents a series of permanent retrofitting measures that can be incorporated into an existing house to reduce or eliminate the potential of future flooding.

The measures covered include:
  • Elevation of a structure
  • Protection of utilities
  • Relocation of a structure
  • Sealing a structure
  • Use of levees and flood walls
This document and others related to flooding can be ordered free of charge by calling FEMA at 1-800-480-2520. The Pitt County Planning Department also has flood related documents available for your review. They can be reached by dialing 902-3250.

Substantial Improvements

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires that if the cost of reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvements to a building exceeds 50% of the buildings market value, then the building must meet the same construction requirements as a new building. Substantially damaged buildings must also be brought up to current elevation standards.(i.e., a structure damaged so that the cost of repairs equals or exceeds 50% of the building's value before it was damaged must be elevated to or above the base flood elevation.)

Drainage System Maintenance

The drainage system in Pitt County is made up of the Tar and Neuse Rivers and their many tributaries. In addition to serving as a drainage basin, the Tar and Neuse Rivers also serves as a recreational waterways so they must be kept clear and navigable. A community can lose some of its drainage system storage capacity due to dumping, debris, soil erosion, sedimentation, and overgrowth of vegetation. When this happens, flooding is more likely to occur and may subject more property to the flood hazard. It is illegal to dump anything into or intentionally degrade the system. Report violations to the Planning Department at 252-902-3250.

Natural & Beneficial Functions of Floodplains

In addition to the natural beauty of our rivers and wetlands these, features dissipate wave forces, reduce frequency and duration of surface flow, provide habitat for fish, wildlife, and other vegetation, and filter various forms of runoff. Fortunately, the State of North Carolina has implemented Buffer Rules to protect the areas immediately adjacent to our water bodies from undesirable development that could be detrimental to their functions. For further information on these Buffer Rules, please contact NCDENR at 919-733-7984.

Additional Information

Find further information on Floodplain Management in Pitt County.

Additional information on floodplain management is available on the FEMA website.