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.

www.reinventinggov.org

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