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New sewage control plan is unfair to city residents

While I’m happy that Buffalo is finally moving toward compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s order to clean up the river, I do not share Riverkeeper’s enthusiasm for the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s long-term control plan. Christopher Murawski speaks of harmful combined sewage overflow, so harmful that signs in multiple languages must warn of its dangers. Instead of dumping this toxic waste into the river, the plan is to store this stinking sludge in the existing 19th century U-shaped brick troughs under residential streets! Sewage vaults to accomplish this are currently being installed on Bird Ave, where I live, with additional constructions phases to follow in other Buffalo neighborhoods.

How will Buffalo’s antiquated sewer lines handle this retention load while waiting to be processed? Can residents expect sewage backup in their basements? What of the odor resulting from sewage being dammed up to depths as much as 28 feet and 10 city blocks? Construction began without an impact review as required by the State Environmental Quality Review Act. These serious health implications warrant a SEQRA review immediately.

Lastly, why is there no regional plan to address this issue? Buffalo did not get here by itself. Our neighboring municipalities have been dumping billions of gallons of sewage into our regional waterways, and the solution is to have this mess stagnate on the blocks of Bird Avenue and other Buffalo streets. Really? This smells like an unfair, short-sighted, Band-Aid approach to a very serious problem.

Karyn Brady

Buffalo