Climate change

Sea level rise endangers sewage treatment in U.S.

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Global warming gets toxic: The number of people who will lose sewage treatment could be five times more than those directly affected by flooding

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Summary from the journal Earth’s Future:

Wastewater treatment plants are susceptible to flooding resulting from sea level rise. Previous estimates of wastewater exposure have only considered the impacts of marine flooding at the local or regional scale.

In this analysis, we quantify the exposure to marine flooding across the coastal United States and then consider the relative impacts of marine and groundwater flooding at the regional scale in the San Francisco Bay Area.

We also estimate the number of people who may lose access to wastewater services if no actions are taken to prevent flooding at wastewater treatment plants.

We find that the number of people impacted by sea level rise due to loss of wastewater services could be five times as high as previous predictions of the number of people who experience direct flooding of their homes or property.

We also find that groundwater flooding poses a significant threat to wastewater plants in the San Francisco Bay region.

Read the full report: 
Sea Level Rise Impacts on Wastewater Treatment Systems Along the U.S. Coasts