The past few weeks I have come across several articles highlighting creative efforts being undertaken by the Buffalo Sewer Authority:

1) Porous Pavement Streets– have been installed on both Clarendon Place and Claremont Avenue, which allows rainwater to permeate directly into the ground. Porous pavement reduces the amount of storm water entering the sewers, which also helps to curb the amount of rain runoff that contributes to excessive overflow into our waters. This also means less sewage enters our waters since combined sewer overflow system is comprised of a mixture of rain water and sewage. Check out a video regarding this creative street design.

2) Rain barrels – In Buffalo, many downspouts from roofs convey rain water directly into the sewer system because the downspout is connected to the sewer system. During heavy rains or snow melts, the sewers become overwhelmed and they discharge polluted water into the Buffalo River, Niagara River, Scajaquada Creek, and many other water ways. The goal of the Rain Barrel\Downspout Disconnect program is to reduce the over-flow, as well as water pollution. The barrels hold 60 gallons of water that can be used to water lawns, gardens etc. At a cost of $99, it is estimated that a rain barrel can save people $34 per year on their water bills. Some programs are available for qualified residents to obtain free rain barrels.

3) The Urban Habitat Project is a three-acre site along Memorial Drive near the Buffalo Central Terminal. The project is a living inner-city demonstration classroom that features habitat restoration, native plants, and sustainable site development/construction. The three-acre site will house large groves of native trees, meadows, and wetlands, fruiting plants and areas carefully designed to attract certain species of birds, bees, turkeys, foxes, and deer.

One creative feature of the Urban Habitat Project is that it redirects and impounds approximately 1.2 million gallons per year of untreated storm water runoff from an adjacent parcel and Curtiss Street. Achieving this required support and coordination from the Buffalo Sewer Authority who provided “enthusiastic support,” according to project leader Dave Majewski.

Under the leadership of General Manager David Comerford, the Buffalo Sewer Authority has partnered with environmentally concerned organizations such as the Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeepers and the Urban Habitat Project to undertake creative projects with long-term fiscal and environmental benefits.

About The Author

The definition of reinvent is:to replace with an entirely new version, to make over completely, to recast something familiar or old into a different form.In my opinion we need to reinvent government, business and ourselves. Today’s world is about constant change driven by the power of new ideas.For the past 17 years as an attorney, I have worked in government at the county, city, authority and school district level in the Buffalo, NY area. I have seen first hand the need for reinventing how government operates. For a period of four years, I served as Chief of Staff to the 9 member City of Buffalo Common Council. Government must engage the talents and skills of its citizens by becoming more collaborative and transparent in its decision-making and operations. Utilizing technology as a tool to engage citizens is something all governments need to explore.I have great respect for entrepreneurs as they put their passion into a vision, which results in new products, new services and new jobs. Entrepreneurs are on the front lines of change. As an adjunct college instructor, I see how students and everyone for that matter must continually change and reinvent themselves to survive and be successful in today’s crazy world economy.Some of my favorite change agent writers are Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Gary Hamel and Guy Kawasaki. I welcome the opportunity to meet new people, to further my own learning and to share ideas.On a personal note I am 47 years old, my other half Cheryl is an attorney in private practice and together we have three children, Michael age 20 and Joseph age 14 and our newest shock of an addition Julia, born 11/2/11.