One of the most repulsive things about post-storm cleanup involves wading through fetid water filled with raw sewage.
That plight is not exclusive to post-hurricane recovery — fecal pathogens in leaks and spills now often pollute stormwater after heavy rains.
Climate change is coming for our backyard septic tanks, and eventually, our municipal waste treatment systems.
“In the long run, sea level rise is going to overrun all of this,” Lawrence Cahoon, a biology professor and researcher at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, said in a recent interview. “I think if we’re going to live on the coast for any length of time, sewer systems are going to let us down and septic systems are going to fail. They already are.”