The Buffalo Sewer Authority is planning a major expansion of its Bird Island treatment plant, as the agency works to treat every drop of contaminated wastewater it can.
The treatment plant services the city and many suburban towns, including Cheektowaga and Lancaster. It also must deal with surging amount of water when rain or melting snow flows into sewer lines, which overwhelms the plant and causes overflows into area waterways.
The authority has a series of expensive plans and projects to resolve those issues. General Manager Olulowole McFoy says those plans build on prior expansions, which were designed to allow future expansions.
"In 1935, when our treatment facility was contemplated, and then again in the middle 70s, when our secondary treatment plant was contemplated, they actually made provision for the plant expansion that we're talking about," McFoy said.
The expansion involves adding some additional secondary tanks and rehabilitating primary tanks. He says it's part of a commitment to Washington to cut down the amount of untreated sewage going into the area's waterways.
"Our Bird Island treatment facility, we're actually looking at increasing its capacity, increasing its capacity for treatment and we want to make sure that as part of our best management plans that we're getting all of the flow, all of the storm water flow that we can to the treatment facility so that we can treat it," McFoy said.
While engineering and design work is underway, McFoy says it is likely to be seven years before it's in full operation and older parts of the plant are rehabbed. The cost will be around $50 million.