Sea level rise is threatening Cape Cod’s coastline, but the impacts are not always visible. Funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, the Association to Preserve Cape Cod teamed up with the US Geological Survey and the Cape Cod Commission to map and model how rising seas are causing groundwater to rise under our feet. As USGS Hydrologist Peter Weiskel puts it, this could be called “an inundation from below” study.
A homeowner’s experience with three failed septic tanks is rounded out by comments from the director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and the Environment on the public health risk of septic systems and sewer lines that are too close to groundwater. Laurel Schaider, a research scientist with the Silent Spring Institute, talks about her study of pharmaceuticals and other unregulated contaminants in wastewater, and how they’re getting from septic systems and into drinking water. APCC Director Ed DeWitt follows up with a call to action: we need to stem the rising tides by reducing our carbon footprint, and mitigating its inevitable effects of sea level rise by protecting our vulnerable coastline.