City sewers receiving long overdue upgrades

Mar 30, 2015

The Buffalo Sewer Authority's long-term plan to end overflows from the sewer system when there is heavy precipitation is moving ahead.

Street storm sewer grate in the city of Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

Sewer Authority General Manager Dave Comerford tells WBFO the plan should cost a little more than $400 million over 20 years. He said this year's actual construction should run between $10-15 million. Two larger projects are in design.

The authority has overflow valves across the city which pop open and flow into open water when the system overloads. Comerford says the agency is testing projects already done.
"We still have to do some post-construction monitoring, actually putting in a device to measure the flows, over a year's time to get a representative body of knowledge, rainfall, etc., that would check the efficacy of the particular project," Comerford said.

Sewer overflows are a serious contaminant to open water, with a couple along the suburban Lake Erie shore leading to beach closings after heavy rains.

In the city there are serious problems with flows into Scajaquada Creek. That's why one of the big projects will be a 12-foot diameter tunnel from the creek toward the treatment plant on Bird Island and another project there to allow more waste to be treated.