This article discusses how more rainfall, a consequence of climate change, expected to make sewage overflows worse.
Every time there’s a heavy rainfall in Richmond, stormwater mixed with untreated sewage overflows into the James River to keep the sewer system from backing up. In 2018, this happened more than 550 times, spilling 3.4 billion gallons of raw sewage mixed with stormwater into the river and surrounding tributaries.
Last year’s historic rainfall was the first increase in volume and number of what the city calls “overflow events” in six years — and it might not be a fluke.
Experts say climate change is causing an increase in precipitation, flooding and high-intensity storms in Virginia, and cities with combined sewer systems like Richmond’s could experience more overflows as result.