SUFFOLK, Va. – Scientists say treated wastewater could help Virginia's coast respond to rising seas.
A local sanitation department for the Hampton Roads region wants to start injecting the water deep underground instead of dumping it in rivers that flow into the Chesapeake Bay.
The U.S. Geological Survey says the water could likely expand the sandy aquifer underground, causing the ground to rise.
So far, a pilot project is being planned. But experts say if the full project proceeds with 120 million gallons a day, the ground could rise by several inches in the coming decades. The water pumped into the ground would be purified to drinking standards.
The region of 1.7 million people is the nation's second-most vulnerable, after New Orleans, to relative sea-level rise.