Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper Joins the City of Buffalo to Celebrate Major Water Quality Improvement Project

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Landmark Green Infrastructure Demonstration Project Unveiled

Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper  joined the City of Buffalo and Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) to unveil a 5-street green infrastructure demonstration project in Buffalo’s Delaware District on Monday, August 6th, 2012, at Noon on Clarendon Place, Buffalo, New York. This project is a major step toward resolving Buffalo’s greatest water quality problem which is raw sewage overflows into our waterways.

A new era of engineering is beginning to catch on locally that works cooperatively with nature’s water cycle, rather than bypassing it.  This water revolution is termed “green infrastructure”. It is an alternative to traditional, or “grey”, engineering solutions, and has the added benefit of improving water quality and aesthetics in neighborhoods.

“Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper helped evaluate and develop the feasibility of this project to be implemented in collaboration with City of Buffalo and the BSA,” said Jill Jedlicka, Executive Director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. “This is an innovative approach to addressing the region’s greatest contributor to water pollution that Riverkeeper has documented for decades.”

The demonstration projects to be unveiled include porous pavement on both Clarendon Place and Claremont Avenue, planned rain gardens on Windsor Avenue and Parkdale Avenue, and stormwater planters on Elmwood Avenue.  The goal of the demonstration projects is to measure the amount of stormwater that can be prevented from entering the combined system of sewers, which frequently become overwhelmed and overflow raw sewage into local waterways.

Jedlicka continues, “The Buffalo Niagara region is quickly becoming one of the nation’s leaders in freshwater management, protection, and Great Lakes restoration.” The City of Buffalo and Buffalo Sewer Authority have demonstrated great leadership in pursuing alternative “green” approaches, combined with the patience and support of these neighborhood residents, we expect to see improvements in both water quality and neighborhood aesthetics in and around Scajaquada Creek.”

Large scale green infrastructure is an engineering solution that utilizes traditional grey functions, (i.e.: pipes and drains) but allows for much of the stormwater to be captured and, through natural filtration, released back into the groundwater aquifers through wetlands, bioswales, and retention ponds.  Small scale green infrastructure is demonstrated by many gardeners who utilize rain barrels or cisterns to collect roof runoff and re-direct it to their plantings.

For more information about green infrastructure and the many available options for implementation, please refer to Riverkeeper’s website and our report “Green Infrastructure Solutions” at http://bnriverkeeper.org/projects/solutions-report/, or contact Jessie Fisher, Director of Greenway Planning, at 716-852-7483, ext. 36.