Human feces float through avid gardener Nell Postell’s yard when it rains particularly hard, and it’s a problem that will likely only get worse as the climate crisis worsens, Inside Climate News reports. The sewer access cover near Postell’s home in Charleston, South Carolina, is one of the weakest links in the low-lying coastal city’s aging sewer system and when that system is inundated by rainwater it can back up, spewing overflow sewage — including human feces, officially denoted as “floatables” — across her yard and into a nearby pond.

“It smells like you’re living in a portaloo,” Postell said in describing how the “gush” of sewage is her regular sign to call Charleston Water Systems, who douse her yard with disinfectant after the rains end. Postell wonders “if it’s a health problem… I don’t know whether my ground is contaminated.”

“Climate change is really exposing the inadequacies of our existing systems to handle the new normal,” Catherine Wannamaker, an attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, which is threatening to sue Charleston over the overflows, told ICN. The problem is also widespread and worsening because “as the atmosphere warms it has greater water vapor capacity. So as our climate system warms, these storms have more water vapor available to them. That’s an ingredient for more intense rain,” explained J. Marshall Shepherd, director of the University of Georgia’s atmospheric sciences department. And it’s not just Charleston, Shepherd added, as “this lines up with what we’re seeing all throughout the South when it comes to sewage and septic systems.” (Inside Climate News)