Sea Level Rise

Stephen Morton

Home septic systems are usually out of sight, out of mind. You don’t think about them until they back up in your yard or toilet.


But there can be problems long before that, and rising sea levels are making problems worse.


Some communities on the coast are trying to fix this.

Stephen Morton

When you flush the toilet, it goes either to your local sewer system or into a septic system on your property. Without a sewage treatment plant, septic systems rely on having plenty of soil and space to filter out the harmful stuff. But as sea levels rise, septic systems are running out of space.

UGA Carl Vinson Institute

By the end of the century, sea levels off the Georgia coast are expected to rise anywhere from one to eight feet. Climate change is also predicted to pose other threats to Georgia communities including more violent hurricanes and heavier rainfall. A lesser-known potential problem affects septic systems.


GPB and the Savannah Morning News are investigating that issue thanks to a grant from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. GPB’s Emily Jones is spearheading the project and spoke with Rickey Bevington about it.