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Climate Change Will Cripple Coastal Septic Systems

Adapting sanitation systems to a fast-changing ecological reality is a challenge not only for big municipal institutions. According to new research, many septic systems — which are simple, backyard devices for addressing the ceaseless problem of toilet waste — are unfit for future climate conditions. Because of a higher water table linked to higher sea levels, conventional septic systems near the coast will not be as effective at removing harmful bacteria and nutrients.

“We really need to start thinking about how to install these systems now before they become a huge issue for pathogens and nutrients in water,” Jennifer Cooper, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Florida, told Circle of Blue.

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