ADAPTING  TO  CLIMATE  CHANGE
 NORTHEAST
The Northeast is projected to experience increased precipitation, more frequent
and intense storms, and higher average temperatures. These projected changes
pose challenges to communities as they protect water and waste infrastructure,
maintain water quality, and protect air quality and public health. Many
communities are building resilience to the risks they face under current climatic
conditions. This fact sheet provides examples of communities that are going
beyond resilience to anticipate and prepare for future impacts.
                                  &EPA
            Urmcd Stales
            Environmental P(.'
                              Moving Beyond Resilience to Adaptatii
                              Climate change adaptation goes
                              beyond resilience by taking actions to
                              address future risks. Adaptation refers
                              to how communities anticipate, plan,
                              and prepare for a changing climate.
  Observed and Projected Changes in the Northeast
             Intense storms have
                 increased
          Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation
                  Charge (%)

            ='0  0-9  10-19 20-29 30-39 40+


      The Northeast experienced a 71%
      increase in the amount of precipitation
      falling in very heavy events (the heaviest
      l%)from 1958 to 2012.
       Average Annual
        Temperature
   Average Annual Temperature
           Increases
                                                                                       Projected Temperature
This map shows the average annual
temperature (F) from 1981 to 2010 in
the Northeast.
The Northeast is projected to experience an
increase in the average annual temperature
(F) for 2041 to 2070 compared to 1971 to
1999 under a high emissions scenario.
Protecting Critical Community Infrastructure
Flooding from more frequent and intense storms and sea level rise will continue to threaten critical drinking water and
wastewater facilities and operations, and threaten waste disposal sites. Public works personnel, land use planners, and utility
operators will face additional challenges to provide continued services as the climate changes. Key vulnerabilities include:
   More storms and flooding can overwhelm operations and the service capacity of drinking water systems, which can threaten
    drinking water availability or cause the need for additional water treatment. Heavy storms can also result in the release of
    untreated water into local water bodies, threatening water quality.
   Flooding and storms may cause the release of contaminants from Corrective Action sites, Superfund sites, brownfield sites
    and landfills.
   Sea level rise and storm surge may damage and submerge critical facilities.

Adaptation in Action
The District of Columbia's Blue Plains Wastewater Facility in Washington, DC,
serves most of the National Capital area, including parts of Maryland and
Virginia. This facility is vulnerable to flooding because of its location adjacent to
the Potomac River. The DC Water and  Sewer Authority is preparing for more
flooding due to climate change. Blue Plains is constructing a seawall that will
surpass the recommended l-in-500 year storm  level by including an extra three
feet of height for added safety. This will help protect the facility against higher
river levels and storm surges. Blue Plains is taking this action to promote
resilience under current conditions and adapt to the expected impacts of
climate change                                                                  Future seawall at Washington, DC, Blue Plains
                                                                              Wastewater Facility will reduce the risks offloading

-------
ADAPTING TO CLIMATE  CHANGE
                NORTHEAST
Attaining Ambient Water Quality Standards

More frequent and intense storms are likely to degrade rivers, streams, and coastal water quality. Managers of natural
resources, water resources and water quality compliance will face challenges as the climate changes. Key vulnerabilities
include:
   More frequent and intense storms may increase runoff of sediment and pollutants from land, leading to erosion into rivers
    and streams, which degrades water quality.
   These effects, combined with higher water temperatures, may threaten ecosystem health and fisheries.

Adaptation  in Action

Tropical Storm Irene washed out an estimated 1,000 transportation culverts
in Vermont in  2011. The state and local municipalities decided to rebuild
many of these culverts to a standard that reduces current and future
vulnerability. Replacing undersized culverts with larger culverts promotes
resilience to current levels of flooding and provides adaptive capacity to deal
with more frequent and intense storms. The resizing of undersized culverts,
combined with actions to promote more natural stream flow, further
reduces levels of sedimentation and erosion and allows for greater fish
passage. Vermont's Natural Resource Adaptation Report identifies culvert re-
design as an adaptation strategy to protect cold-water fisheries and water
quality. By taking future climate risks into account, namely the expected
increase of precipitation and storms in the Northeast, Vermont is not only
promoting resilience to current threats but also adapting to future
conditions.

Maintaining Air Quality and Public Health

Increased temperatures can affect air quality (e.g., ground-level ozone), which can have impacts on public health. More
frequent and intense hot weather also poses risks to public health. Public health officials, emergency responders, and
community leaders will face challenges to protect public health, especially to the elderly, very young children, those with pre-
existing medical conditions and those in low income communities. Key vulnerabilities include:
   Higher levels of ground-level ozone affect people with respiratory and heart conditions.
   More frequent heat waves can increase heat stress and result in death.

Adaptation in Action

Heat waves are the leading weather-related cause of death in the United
States.  New York City (NYC) assessed its vulnerability to the health impacts
of heat waves under current and future climatic conditions. To promote
resilience to current and future heat waves, NYC is increasing the use of
cooling centers and supporting outreach to share life-saving information
with particularly vulnerable people. NYC is also using green infrastructure,
reforestation and reflective or cool roofs to reduce the urban heat island
effect.

                                                                           By painting roofs with white or reflective paint, New
                                                                           York City is reducing the urban heat island effect.
Upgrading transportation culverts will help Vermont prevent
washed out roads and runoff into rivers and streams (seen
above, after Hurricane Irene).
    a comprehensive view of projected climate changes in your region, consult:
                                                                       sessment
                  JUNE 2016
                  OFFICE OF POLICY
                  EPA-230-F-16-013

-------