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Fri Sep 22, 2017, 11:18 PM

As waters slowly rise along Florida shores, coastal communities' approaches vary

As rising sea levels cause flooding more often in Florida, the state’s first city has a concern as old as civilization itself.

“If there’s one thing that’s absolutely certain, people expect their toilets to flush,” St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver said. To guarantee that, the city will need to find a way to keep its sewage treatment plant above water.

As the ocean rises, the outfall for the plant — on a marsh along the San Sebastian River — is “no longer going to fall out,” said Shaver. “You-know-what doesn’t run uphill, and we have a gravity sewer system. If it can’t run downhill, it’s not going to function.”

Protecting St. Augustine’s most vulnerable asset, she said, could cost as much as $100 million, twice the city’s annual budget.


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