Readers voted Phil Gambini’s report on high levels of E. coli bacteria in local waterways at our top story of 2021. Blame it on the discharge of untreated sewage which is spewed into waterways after heavy rains..
There’s a particular problem with the Black Rock Canal, popular with fishermen, the occasional swimmer and, most notably, the West Side Rowing Club and high school and college crew teams. E. coli readings consistently exceed safe limits — by up to 14 times — established by the federal government.
“There are people coming in contact with water with E. coli from human feces every single day,” Wendy Paterson of the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper told Investigative Post.
Other affected waterways included the Buffalo and Niagara rivers and Scajaquada, Ellicott and Eighteen Mile creeks.