Infographic: Flush Floods

Extreme weather and rising sea levels from climate change pose a serious threat to our aging sewage system and public health.

See also: Rising Waters, Rising Threat by Ben Bovarnick, Shiva Polefka, and Arpita Bhattacharyya

Modern wastewater infrastructure is a vital part of everyone’s daily lives, protecting Americans from waterborne diseases and preserving the nation’s waterways as ecological, recreational, and commercial assets. When working properly, these pipes and treatment facilities go largely unnoticed. But when extreme weather such as Superstorm Sandy cause treatment facilities to fail and sewers to overflow, the cleanup costs and threats to public health can be severe. As climate change exacerbates the most severe weather and speeds sea-level rise, deficiencies in wastewater infrastructure will become harder to ignore—and increasingly costly to clean up after failures.


Ben Bovarnick is a Special Assistant with the Energy Policy team at the Center for American Progress. Shiva Polefka is a Policy Analyst for the Center’s Ocean Policy program. Pete Morelewicz is the Center’s Art Director. Arpita Bhattacharyya was previously a Policy Analyst for the Energy Policy team at the Center.

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Ben Bovarnick

Research Assistant

Shiva Polefka

Associate Director, Ocean Policy

Pete Morelewicz

Director, Art

Arpita Bhattacharyya

Policy Analyst