Backed-up pipes, stinky yards: Climate change is wrecking septic tanks
By: Jim Morrison
April 12, 2022 at 7:00 a.m. EDT
The Washington Post
Lewis Lawrence likes to refer to the coastal middle peninsula of Virginia as suffering from a “soggy socks” problem. Flooding is so persistent that people often can’t walk around without getting their feet wet.
Over two decades, Lawrence, the executive director of the Middle Peninsula Planning District, has watched the effects of that problem grow, as rising waters and intensifying rains that flood the backyard render underground septic systems ineffective. When that happens smelly, unhealthy wastewater backs up into homes.
Local companies, he said, call the Middle Peninsula the “septic repair capital of the East Coast.” “That’s all you need to know,” he added. “And it’s only going to get worse.”
As climate change intensifies, septic failures are emerging as a vexing issue for local governments. For decades, flushing a toilet and making wastewater disappear was a convenience that didn’t warrant a second thought. No longer. From Miami to Minnesota, septic systems are failing, posing threats to clean water, ecosystems and public health….