In the shadow of one of the world’s richest cities, the people of Mount Vernon, New York face an unpleasant problem inside their homes: sewage. The city’s under-resourced sanitation crew struggles to keep up with complications stemming from its crumbling, 100-year old sewer system—a system strained even further by the extreme rain brought on by climate change. Meanwhile, residents must shoulder the financial, emotional and health burdens when sewage backs up into their basements and homes.

This story was produced in partnership with The Guardian. It was made possible by a grant from the Open Society Foundations.