Progress to report on Scajaquada Creek

There is limited, but noteworthy progress to report some 10 month after Investigative Post and WGRZ reported on the sorry state of Scajaquada Creek.

The Town of Cheektowaga is poised to sell more than $12 million in bonds to finance the first phase of work to line sewer pipes to seal cracks and update infrastructure in the Winston-Vegola neighborhoods which have the most sewer overflow problems in the town. Another $41 million in planned work will be spread out over a decade.

The Buffalo Sewer Authority, meanwhile, continues to study the feasibility of treating more of Cheektowaga’s sewage to reduce overflows into the creek. In addition, the authority, Army Corps of Engineers  and Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper are working on a plan to dredge some of the most contaminated sections of the creek from Forest Lawn Cemetery to the trash rack in Delaware Park. That work, which will remove up to five feet of sludge, is expected to start later this year or next year.

While Cheektowaga and Buffalo officials are taking measured steps to clean up the creek, state lawmakers are doing little to address the problems of the Scajaquada and other badly polluted waterways.

Fixing the sewer infrastructure is a $36 billion dollar problem statewide, including some $1 billion in Erie and Niagara counties. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature included only $200 million for sewer improvements over three years in the state budget they recently approved. There are no guarantees that Cheektowaga or Buffalo will receive any of that funding.