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Mayor Brown Announces Citywide Green Initiatives
Contact: Peter K. Cutler
Mayor Byron W. Brown has announced a number of initiatives that will help to address sewer overflow issues and also help to manage vacant land in the City.
“The Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) will be launching a series of green rain water management pilot projects this fall as the first step of an emerging green sewer solution,” said Mayor Brown. “The Sewer Authority has been working with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to study the use of green technologies to reduce rainwater flow to the City’s Combined Sewer system.”
On wet days, this rainwater flow, by design, is conveyed to receiving streams in order to prevent basement back-up or street flooding. Environmental law changes in 1972 and 1994 have compelled municipalities to address these overflows. Since then, BSA has been reducing these overflows over the past ten years with various storage and storm water separation projects. However, BSA is currently negotiating a consent decree with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency regarding overflows, and the program to capture overflows is going to be accelerated. Part of the solution will be system changes. Another facet of reduction will be the aforementioned green solutions.
The first generation pilot projects will include a downspout disconnection and rain barrel effort in the First Ward and Hamlin Park neighborhoods, the development of a Green water management strategy for the Riverbend brownfield area, implementation of Green Street projects on the City’s West Side and up to six vacant land water management projects on the City’s East Side. The agency will also be looking to integrate better water management into the City’s Green Code effort. Metrics on each pilot project will help determine if the programs are extended City Wide.
According to Julie Barrett O-Neill, Riverkeeper has been “absolutely delighted” with the Mayor’s cooperation in exploring green sewer solutions. “This type of solution requires creativity, commitment and a lot of coordination. We were surprised and really impressed with by the Buffalo Sewer Authority, Buffalo Department of Public Works, Office of Inspections and Office of Strategic Planning’s collective cooperation and the Mayor’s leadership on this effort.”
Many Great Lakes and Northeast cities have started implementing green sewer solutions including Syracuse/Onondaga Count, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Toronto,
Mayor Brown added, “There is much speculation and not enough empirical data regarding the efficacy of these green solutions. Intuitively, we know they will help. Our pilot programs will provide us with hard data.”
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Photos by Angel Art LTP, compliments of the Greater Buffalo Convention and Visitors Bureau. Additional photos by Adrian Roselli, compliments of Algonquin Studios