More progress for Scajaquada Creek

Two Western New York communities will get almost $6 million from the state for projects that will reduce the amount of untreated sewage spewing into Scajaquada Creek.

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council awarded the Town of Cheektowaga $5 million. The town will use the funding to repair damaged sewer pipes that get inundated with stormwater, which causes untreated sewage to be discharged into the creek.

In addition, the Village of Depew received a total of $780,000 for two sewer-related projects. One of the projects will reduce untreated sewage from entering Scajaquada Creek by repairing damaged sewer lines and storage tanks.

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In 2014, Investigative Post reported that Buffalo and Cheektowaga, and to a lesser degree, Depew, dump more than a half billion gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater into the creek each year. That reporting has helped spur investment to clean up the creek over the past.

The damage caused by the sewer overflows over the years is disturbing: dead ducks, unsafe levels of fecal bacteria that can make people sick and sewer sludge five feet deep in some sections of the creek in Buffalo.

The funding from the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is part of $68.8 million awarded to 112 projects.

Other notable sewer and drinking water improvement projects include:

  • $1 million for the Town of Chautauqua to decommission the Chautauqua Heights Sewer District Wastewater Treatment Plant and replace it with a pumping station. The project is expected to reduce phosphorus entering Chautauqua Lake, which continues to have problems with dangerous blue-green algal blooms.
  • $1 million for the Village of Sinclairville in Chautauqua County to build a new water storage tank and an additional well water source for drinking water.
  • $1.7 million for the Village of Kenmore to make repairs to sewer pipes, which will reduce untreated sewage overflowing into Two Mile Creek and the Niagara River.
  • $1 million for the City of Lockport to install a UV disinfection system at its wastewater treatment plant that will better clean wastewater before it’s released into Eighteen Mile Creek.