Removing the muck from Scajaquada Creek

News and analysis by Dan Telvock, Investigative Post's environmental reporter

The ongoing restoration of Scajaquada Creek has reached one of the most-polluted sections in Delaware Park.

For three years Investigative Post has reported on the creek’s disgusting condition. The chief causes of the pollution are the Buffalo and Cheektowaga sewer systems, which spew raw sewage into the creek when deluged by storm water. As a result of decades worth of sewer overflows, the creek bottom is layered with black foul smelling muck.

Both Buffalo and Cheektowaga do have plans to address the sewer overflows problems.

On Monday, crews began dredging a badly polluted section of the creek by Hoyt Lake. This is the same spot where in July 2014 I discovered a mother duck gasping her last breath in the middle of raw sewage and garbage. I found five dead ducks that day, all likely victims of Avian botulism, a toxin that can breed in sewer-infested waters and kill infected birds. Bucket crane operators will spend two weeks removing the waste from this section.

Sections in Forest Lawn Cemetery have already been dredged.

The $2.8 million Buffalo Sewer Authority restoration project is funded by a federal and state grant and the Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation. Buffalo-Niagara Riverkeeper, Olmsted Parks Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are project partners.

The project stretches from Main Street in the cemetery to Elmwood Avenue behind the history museum. The work includes dredging, restoring wetlands and landscaping. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year.