FloodBreak featured in FEMA Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings publication

FEMA P-936, Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings, features two hospital flood mitigation projects with floodwalls and FloodBreak® passive flood barriers. The new publication is intended to assist local government officials, engineers, architects, and property owners involved in the planning and implementation of floodproofing retrofits. Both hospital mitigation projects were FEMA funded and used a combination of floodwalls and passive flood barriers to protect the lifeline institutions. The combination is an effective approach for hospitals as it provides the flood protection these critical institutions need to ensure that they can provide healthcare to their communities while also ensuring full access for patients and staff until a flood event is imminent. You can find the full publication on FEMA’s website.  . Go to FEMA website

FEMA issued a new Floodproofing Non-Residential Buildings publication  (FEMA P-936 ) to provide new information and guidance for planning and implementation of floodproofing retrofits. The passive floodgate technology used by FloodBreak has been proven in actual flood situations at over a dozen verified customer locations including many with multiple occurrences.

Contact us.

Historic Rosenberg Library Protected by Passive Flood Barriers

Architecturally Integrated Flood Gates Protect Rosenberg Library.

Customer: Rosenberg Public Library
Location: Galveston, TX
Products: Vehicle and Pedestrian Gates
Installation dates: 2010 – 2011

The Rosenberg Library, a historic building on Galveston Island in Texas, was ravaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 but now is fully restored and protected from future storms.  Today the many Texas treasures on display at the Rosenberg Library Museum, inside the Rosenberg Library, are protected by FloodBreak passive flood barriers as part of an overall hurricane proofing of the building. Damage was extensive as part of the building was under as much as 6 feet of floodwater at the height of Ike’s storm surge.

The FloodBreak Solution:


Two 7′ tall passive flood barriers from FloodBreak protect the bottom floor entrances to the 500 year flood elevation.

But you wouldn’t know it unless you looked very closely as they are covered by carpet and instead of the the standard aluminum wiper walls, they use polished concrete, stained to match the historic building architecture. Though hidden, they provide 24/7 flood protection and should another storm surge or flood occur, the floodwater will cause the buoyant floodgates to deploy and seal against the sidewalls.

The Rosenberg Library is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. It holds about 7,500 items related to the history of Galveston and the Republic of Texas.  Hurricane Ike resulted in devastating damage but the library today is better than ever and protected against future storms.

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Wastewater treatment plant in Decatur, IL

Floodproofing The Sanitary District Of Decatur

The Sanitary District of Decatur, a wastewater treatment plant in Decatur, IL is permanently protected from flood damage should the flooding that is ravaging many towns in the Midwest, threaten their facility.  They will not have to use personnel to fill and place sand bags around the plant nor undertake other flood fighting activities.  In 2012, the Sanitary District of Decatur added a floodwall and installed 7 FloodBreak® floodgates to protect the perimeter of their facility.

wastewater treatment plant floodgate
perimeter passive automatic gate

Having recently completed its Wastewater Facilities Improvement and Expansion Program to meet the needs of Decatur’s area residents and industries well into the 21st Century, they realized the importance of keeping floodwaters out.  The wastewater treatment plant is protected with permanent flood barriers including vehicle gates that deploy automatically to protect vehicular entrances. Designed for industrial conditions, the permanently installed vehicle floodgates remain hidden, which allows full access to the plant.

Providing The Best Flood Protection For Wasterwater Treatment Facilities

This floodproofing project in Decatur, IL is part of FloodBreak’s larger goal to provide the highest quality flood protection to wastewater facilities and other critical infrastructure around the world. We protect over a dozen wastewater facilities in the United States alone and are continuing to expand each year.

To learn more about our passive flood barriers and how they work, click here.

FloodBreak prevents flood damage at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute

A FloodBreak® passive floodgate system was installed at the Vanderbilt Eye Institute in Nashville, TN to provide permanent protection 24/7  against future flooding.

FloodBreak Automatic Floodgate was selected to prevent future flood damageFloodBreak Automatic Floodgates protect against floodingFloodBreak passive flood barriers deploy without human intervention or powerFloodBreak passive flood barriers protect 24/7The Vanderbilt Eye Institute, a department of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, was inundated with two feet of water on the first floor in the 2010 Flood.  Flooding on the Cumberland River also damaged the Grand Ole Opry House, Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, Bridgestone Arena and LP Field – home of the Tennessee Titans.

The FloodBreak pedestrian floodgate is permanently installed beneath grade at the Eye Institue entrance and will deploy automatically, without human intervention or power, should floodwaters approach the building.  The passive system is comprised of a buoyant beam that is lifted by the hydrostatic pressure from the rising floodwaters to prevent the water from entering through the doorway.  Self activating gaskets seal the barrier against the sidewalls.


FloodBreak chosen to protect another hospital

The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) is an 84-acre campus on Galveston Island that was devastated by Hurricane Ike.   FEMA awarded the state of Texas more than $90 million, in the form of a Public Assistance Grant, for flood mitigation including FloodBreak passive flood barriers as part of dry floodproofing measures. FEMA requires that all non-residential structures that are located in Zone AE and are to be substantially improved must either have their lowest floors elevated to or above the base Flood Elevation (BFE) or be dry floodproofed (made substantially impermeable) to or above the BFE.

FloodBreak passive flood barriers protect against floodingFloodBreak passive flood barriers provide flood protection below the BFEFloodBreak passive flood barriers were chosen to provide permanent impermeable passive protection, but also because they are designed to withstand hydrostatic, hydrodynamic, and impact forces produced by flooding or high water events. When completed, the Primary Care Pavilion will have 13 FloodBreak passive flood barriers protecting vulnerable entrances.

UTMB joins a growing list of protected hospitals:

  • MD Anderson Cancer Center – Houston, TX
  • Lourdes Hospital – Binghamton, NY
  • Columbus Regional Hospital – Columbus, IN
  • Bayshore Medical Center – Pasadena, TX
  • Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth – Beaumont, TX
  • Lebanon Medical Center – Lebanon, OH
  • Cheyenne Medical Center – Cheyenne, WY

FloodBreak to demonstrate passive flood barriers at BAFPAA Annual Conference

FloodBreak will demonstrate its passive flood barrier technology to the Bay Area Flood Protection Agencies Association in Livermore, CA, on February 21, 2013.

FloodBreak will present passive flood barrier technology to attendees at the conference

FloodBreak is working closely with interested flood protection parties to share ideas, technologies, experiences and discuss joint flood control projects.  As the leading provider of passive flood control solutions, FloodBreak will educate the various stakeholders on the benefits of passive flood barrier systems and the proven performance of FloodBreak Automatic Floodgates.

The all-day conference will be held at the Zone 7 Water Agency in Livermore, CA.

Can’t get there but want to see how passive flood barrier technology works?

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FloodBreak Presentation at NAO Conference

FloodBreak presented flood mitigation technology solutions at the National Aerospace Organization (NAO) conference in November, 2012 in Cocoa Beach FL.  The conference: Protecting Military Airbases & Commercial Airports from the Destructive Forces of Nature and was designed to help military airbases or municipal and regional airports protect their facilities, aircraft, personnel, and assets against the destructive forces of nature including hurricanes and flooding.

Representatives from general and commercial aviation, municipal and regional airports, military airbase representatives and military civil engineering project managers attended the event.

Live demonstrations of passive mitigation technologyFloodBreak demonstrated its passive flood mitigation technology with a demonstration trailer where viewers could see the passive flood barrier lifted by the hydrostatic pressure from the floodwater.

Learn more about the conference and the NAO by watching the video featuring Colonel John D. Thomas, U.S. Air Force (Ret.) President, National Aerospace Organization.

FloodBreak will present passive flood mitigation technology at the Protecting Military Airbases and Commercial Airports Against the Forces of Nature conference

Why does the FloodBreak flood barrier float?

Why Does The FloodBreak Passive Flood Barrier Float?

The FloodBreak passive flood barrier is actually a buoyant panel constructed of hollow aluminum extrusions. The extrusions are designed to be structural while also providing excellent flotation. Additionally, the extrusions are chambered so that even if an area of the panel is compromised, the overall panel will still float. This is similar to the design of a ship’s hull, where bulkheads protect the ship even if the hull is locally damaged.

As the floodwater fills the gate pan, the hydrostatic pressure lifts the flood barrier and continues to raise it as the floodwater continues to rise. The buoyant flood barrier floats on top of the water. There is no need for human intervention or power to deploy the FloodBreak Automatic Floodgate.

See How It Works

How Much Does The Floating Panel Weigh?

The actual weight varies depending on the type of gate, size and any special coatings or surface treatments specified. We design the cross-section of the gate panel to ensure that the total weight is always less than the water it floats upon and include a factor of safety to ensure this. Every floodgate is certified by an independent professional engineer who ensures that the floodgate is designed to successfully deploy.

See our passive flood barrier technical specs here.

Passive Flood Protection: Frequently Asked Questions

The FloodBreak flood barrier is designed to automatically float up, so all that is needed is floodwaters to pool under the buoyant hinged panel and the hydrostatic pressure will deploy the gates without human intervention. 

The FloodBreak automatic floodgate is actually a buoyant panel constructed of hollow aluminum extrusions. The extrusions are designed to be structural while also providing excellent flotation. Additionally, the extrusions are chambered so that even if an area of the panel is compromised, the overall panel will still float. This is similar to the design of a ship’s hull, where bulkheads protect the ship even if the hull is locally damaged.

Absolutely. Placing the floodgate on an incline or decline has no negative bearing on the function of the FloodBreak flood control system. We have installed FloodBreak flood barriers on minor inclines and in cambered roadways. The geometry of an installation almost never prohibits use of our system. We’d be happy to discuss your project.

The FloodBreak passive flood barrier system will operate normally with silt and clay suspended in the floodwater. It doesn’t impact the operation – even very muddy water will float the bouyant flood barrier. The system is designed so that debris is washed through to the pan and out the drainage pipes, including during rainstorms and other non-flood water events. Contact us to discuss the specifics on your project.

Are there size limitations to your flood barriers?

Click here to see more information about our large flood barriers.

Are there any limits to how high and wide you can build your floodgates?
FloodBreak floodgates are designed with tension members rather than stanchions or vertical stops and are modular in nature. FloodBreak Gates are custom designed – there are no practical limits in height or width. FloodBreak can provide custom-engineered solutions for any floodway problem.

What is the tallest floodgate ever installed?
The tallest installed FloodBreak flood barrier to date is 10 feet tall, and taller gates are currently being designed. We have over 20+ floodgates that are over 6 feet in height.

What is the widest gate ever installed?
The widest FloodBreak floodgate installed to date is 112 feet wide but we have built one that is 300 feet wide.  In fact there are a dozen FloodBreak Automatic Floodgates currently installed that are over 5o feet wide. Because the system is built in panels that are each self-supporting, there is no practical limit to width.

Can we put the floodgate on an incline/decline?
Absolutely. Placing the FloodBreak gate on an incline or decline has no negative bearing on the function of the gate.

Can we put the floodgate on the side of a hill?
Yes, in most cases. We have installed floodgates on minor inclines and in cambered roadways. The geometry of an installation almost never prohibits use of our system. Off-camber solutions are designed on a case by case basis.

More Frequently Asked Questions