A major UN report released this week shows the sea level is rising around the globe, which means people who live in coastal cities face real risks from losing their property, and in some cases their live, to the rising ocean and the intense storms these warmer waters bring.
And it will make it harder for more than 60 million people in the United States to flush their toilets.
About 1 in 5 US households rely on septic systems, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. It's a type of sanitary system that has worked since ancient Egyptian times, but the climate crisis and septic systems don't mix, studies show.
These systems will be incredibly vulnerable to sea level rise and heavy rains. The climate crisis has brought both. In areas with drought, it may also be difficult to get the volume of water needed to keep the tanks functioning, studies show.
Many systems are clustered in coastal areas that are already expecting sea level rise, including around Boston and New York. Nearly half of New England homes depend on them.
Florida also has a disproportionate share. It's home to 2.6 million systems, or about 12% of all the septic systems in the country, the Florida Department of Health estimates. Miami-Dade County alone is home to more than 105,000 septic systems.
"Sea level rise is not a registered voter. It doesn't have a party. It's something that is going to affect everyone," said Rebeca Sosa, vice chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission, who spearheaded a study on septic tank vulnerability in the county.
She knows it's not a glamorous political issue, but with a lot of her residents living on Social Security checks, they're not going to have the extra funds to deal with the issue.
"Our job right now is to make sure that we make the state and the federal government understand ... that we need help, so we can help those who are not going to be able to pay to have sewer lines."
A county report predicts that within the next 25 years, 64% of the tanks could break and need repairs every year. The report found there are likely 1,000 properties already failing under current conditions.
That's bad news for residents, but news that will keep some workers busy.