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Major US cities including NYC, Boston and Philadelphia could be ‘inundated’ by floods of raw sewage, study warns

Major US cities including NYC, Boston and Philadelphia could be ‘inundated’ by floods of raw sewage, study warns

Major US cities including NYC, Boston and Philadelphia could be ‘inundated’ by floods of raw sewage, study warns

The team used climate models to predict flooding and Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs), which may occur when systems combine sewage, industrial waste, and precipitation runoff into a single pipe by 2100.

A recent study has issued a stark warning about the potential flooding of major coastal cities with untreated wastewater seeping into basements and streets. The affected cities, including New York City, Boston, and Philadelphia, are facing a critical challenge due to outdated pipe networks designed in the 1850s to handle up to 1.75 inches of rainfall per hour. However, projections indicate that precipitation levels could surge to nearly two inches per hour within the next three decades.

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Researchers at Drexel University delved into the impact of climate change on flood-prone areas like Camden, New Jersey, to assess the vulnerability of East Coast systems. The study, published in Water Management Modeling, utilized climate models to forecast flooding and Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) by 2100. The findings revealed an alarming scenario where sewage, industrial waste, and rainwater could merge into a single pipe, posing significant environmental risks. .

Current rainfall in the city has already exceeded the 1999 baseline by ten percent, with a projected thirty percent increase in precipitation in the coming years. This study underscores the urgent need for proactive measures and infrastructure upgrades to mitigate the impending threats posed by climate change on coastal cities.

The study also found that by the end of the century, sea levels will rise by about six feet, increasing the likelihood of sewage floods by 21 to 66 percent, the Daily Mail reported. According to the findings, floods contaminated by sewage might linger for about 65 days.

Researchers suggest a solution

Researchers have criticized federal officials for their inadequate efforts in addressing sewage flooding in Camden. One proposed solution is to divert upstream rainwater from Cramer’s Hill, the main sewer system in the area. Franco Montalto, a professor at Drexel University and lead author, expressed enthusiasm for collaborating on solutions to reduce flooding and enhance Camden’s resilience to climate change. The Department of Environmental Protection has suggested a USD62 million project to replace sewers with larger pipes to upgrade infrastructure.

However, recent intense rainfall in New York led to basement flooding in residences, highlighting the urgent need for effective flood prevention measures. In a storm last September, more than 7,400 miles of pipelines in New York were overwhelmed, causing sewage water to overflow into streets, subways, and homes.



Published Date:July 4, 2024 7:17 AM IST



Updated Date:July 4, 2024 8:10 AM IST