'It’s Not Too Late' with Ginger Zee: The quality of water is changing

Ginger Zee examines the impact of sea level rise on the quality of our water.
6:36 | 10/16/20

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Transcript for 'It’s Not Too Late' with Ginger Zee: The quality of water is changing
Hi I'm in Jersey and it's not to lakes. Today I'm up above sea level rats in Miami. I now you're probably saying to yourself bella. We know that the sea is rising in Miami we've seen the video of water overtaking the buildings we know that sea level has risen. Five inches since 1993. And we've also seen the 400 million dollar pump system that was recently installed. Just to keep their feet Jack. This story is about the less obvious and even more imminent threat the quality of the water specifically. It's game day. It has this many this volumes. Of fish. Looking for oxygen. Other almost air golfing over there. In bay is that her place paradise that laughs at the coast of southeast Florida are right about here and also cases that strip of land barrier islands. We call Miami Beach. Indeed generate billions of dollars annually for higher regional economy it's one of the jewels of the state of Florida it hurts it that are still protected and Ashley and I cannot kayak. The permanent. This and they are protected in so many ways but currently it's dying thanks in part to sea level rise. Kevin Lansky heads up Miami Dade county's water and sewage system and he says that there department. Half the planned for a worst case scenario. Hewlett are now 41 year horizon we're planning on worst case eleven inches zero Ross. Which he lives. And on top of that the what is being polluted runoff from fertilizer litter and waste. From get this septic tanks. Yes septic tanks it's something that most of us think are reserved for farms and rural homes but they don't have them in this city of Miami. We have over a 100000 septic tank to Miami Dade County still to this day. And we need to transition those septic tanks and connect boomers were sewer system is also aging. Yes it because of skeptics are disputing waste water into our ground water would ever goes. Goes into our bay. And that's pretty disgusting. In a typical tactic set up the waste from your house enters the take. Then the solid part of the waste settled for the baht the water that is above that goes to the drain field to be there. Now when sea level rise is the drain field mixes. With the ground water and the septic can fail. That means your waist. From your toilet could go directly into the ground water and in this case into Biscayne Bay. They're also big problems coming from the inland parts of Florida. You went into all the areas where he lives in Florida you would have been in ma. Data I'll never really lazy all. It was this law and he sought to dream while. As a project of mammoth proportions. So they can't started building now. And they drain salt water on yet certainly in giant's own working to. Build a. And now. Those house pick up trash nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilizer and toxins that we're putting our agriculture and outlines. And then they dump it all right into the day. All of chemicals were also met with historic heat this summer drowning out the oxygen. And without a half. Elgin. This happens. Thousands of fish that now what happened with the fish kill that was. An unprecedented. It. Once in a lifetime. Phenomenon. That regrettably because of climate change and are rising water temperatures it is likely to happen again so what you had the dead fish kill was. Water temperatures over six degrees higher than normal you have nurses know circulation in the day. You have no win. And you have the you know incredible amount of nutrients are receding into the day due to marine debris and entered through sewage spills and septic weeks. And that created this lack of oxygen. They in different various pockets of the northern basin of the bay. Summer is always hot and Florida but this past summer was next level. Seven of the top ten warmest week in Miami history happened in twenty funny. Eleven does breaking records in the hot afternoons either. But instead it was also the overnight different supposed to get cooler. Temperatures in the eighties can you imagine in the overnight while Miami had six consecutive nights of record warm lows. Three of them. We're all time records Willie Gary from our Miami affiliate WP LG didn't entire special called saving this cane. Here it is sad that bad floor of the bay was littered with dead at. There is urgency happening now there's never happened before but there's a vigilance there's an awareness actually happening now Miami Dade County. Where people are gonna start to hold our leaders accountable. Miami water keeper an advocacy group says that Miami needs. Big changes not just in sewage infrastructure but they also have to regulate the use of fertilizer and other chemical. Bubble rise. It's having any negative effect in all of these solutions sources worse. You urgently needs you being you being Aaron. These investments ends and taking these opportunity tax. To retrofit is powered city is built in functions you ready for price I think their behalf and it's inherited not just service evening slurred. You know click here to fix these problems and tackled head on. And I do have some goodness this game today cat and recover it would be a slow process but if you look at their neighbors and Tampa bank. They till we're at a tipping point about four decades ago. They're seeing grass was killed off but pollution and algae humans. But it took thirty years and now they've brought back their day. Today C Grafton camera they congress that same area it did in the nineteen that the that's nearly twice the size of Manhattan. Sell its Miami sad now I promise. It's not certainly.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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