Climate Change and Wastewater Infastructure

 Isla Vista Cliffs during a King Tide. Photo (c) Bill Dewey

Isla Vista Cliffs during a King Tide. Photo (c) Bill Dewey

HTO has been researching the potential impacts of sea level rise (SLR) on wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). All WWTPs are built next to water for ease of disposal, whether ocean, creek, river or wetlands. Hurricane Sandy (2012) gave us a preview of the threat that climate change poses to wastewater infrastructure: 13 billion gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage was released from wastewater treatment plants in the wake of intense rain from the hurricane. HTO continues to work on adaptation issues in all climate change planning scenarios.