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Climate Health


Linda McNeil moved into her three-bedroom home in Mount Vernon, New York, 21 years ago. Six weeks after she closed on the property, heavy rain caused her water pipes to back up and sewage to flood her basement. It was the first in a string of ongoing backups over the last two decades, damaging her property and threatening the physical and mental health of her and her family. The latest backup of sewer water into her home was just this past weekend, kicked off by a summer rainstorm. “We’d have a mix of rainwater and raw sewage in the basement,” said McNeil’s daughter, Eileen Lambert. “Probably about three feet.”

The first time the McNeil’s house flooded, all of their basement living room furniture was destroyed, as well as a freezer and their built-in bar. Over the years as the flooding continued, McNeil installed a pump system that cost $15,000 and the family stopped using the basement for fear of it flooding. Around four years ago, McNeil and Lambert were displaced from their home due to severe sewage backups that the city wasn’t able to fix immediately. “We used to have these big huge tankers that would just sit out in the woods across from our house,  that pum... Read more

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