Categories for Investigations

Jul 24

2014

Disgust and outrage along Scajaquada Creek

Published by

Two state senators are demanding the Department of Environmental Conservation take aggressive action to address sewer overflows that have contaminated Scajaquada Creek. Senators Mark Grisanti and Tim Kennedy, whose districts include the creek, called for action Monday after witnessing a repulsive scene that included trash filled creek water, three dead ducks, and a fourth paralyzed and gasping for air in a pool of garbage and sewage. Grisanti and Kennedy, sickened by what they saw in the creek near Delaware Park’s Hoyt Lake, said they will make it a priority to clean up Scajaquada Creek and advocate for more money to[...]

Posted 8 years ago

Jul 17

2014

The Scajaquada is a crippled creek

Published by

Municipalities dump more than a half billion gallons of sewage mixed with untreated stormwater into the creek annually. That putrid cocktail has fouled the creek’s water in a variety of ways. Sludge composed of decaying human feces and other contaminants is up to five feet deep in places along the creek bottom. Fecal bacteria is present at levels up to 20 times higher than what’s considered safe for recreational use. Avian botulism, which has paralyzed and eventually killed hundreds, if not thousands of birds over the years, lurks in a stretch that cuts through Forest Lawn Cemetery and Delaware Park.[...]

Posted 8 years ago

Jul 14

2014

Huge price tag for fixing Buffalo’s buildings

Published by

By Jim Heaney and Pamela Cyran The bill is about to become due for City Hall’s chronic failure to maintain and update many of the 240 buildings and 2,180 acres of parks it owns. Consultants two years ago gave Mayor Byron Brown’s administration a preliminary estimate of $607 million to bring those buildings and parks up to snuff over the coming decade, and said that $253 million of that work ought to get done right away. The bill for leaky roofs alone stretched into eight figures. Administration officials have kept the estimates under wraps, insisting they are too high. They[...]

Posted 8 years ago

Jul 10

2014

Buffalo’s costly neglect of public buildings

Published by

A draft report shows city owned buildings and parkland require up to $607 million in repairs and updates over the next decade, Jim Heaney and Pamela Cyran of Investigative Post report for WGRZ. City Hall alone would cost up to $180 million to bring up to snuff, the draft report said. Costly work is required for community centers, libraries, museums and other cultural centers, and park, police and fire facilities. City officials said they have not released the two-year-old report, obtained from sources by Investigative Post, because they believe the cost estimates are high. They are scheduled to meet Friday[...]

Posted 8 years ago

Jun 13

2014

EPA fines Buffalo for mishandling waste

Published by

The City of Buffalo will pay a $21,094 fine and spend $79,000 on nine community recycling events as punishment for numerous violations of federal hazardous waste laws under an agreement announced Thursday with the Environmental Protection Agency. City officials also agreed to improve its management of hazardous waste and spent lamps- a commitment the city failed to honor three years ago. The EPA conducted two investigations in 2008 and 2011 that found various violations of hazardous waste laws that put city employees and neighborhood residents at risk of potential mercury poisoning and chemical explosions. The settlement comes two days after Investigative[...]

Posted 8 years ago

Jun 10

2014

Another ‘fine mess’ for Buffalo’s City Hall

Published by

Buffalo is facing more than $100,000 in fines because of its mishandling of hazardous materials that put city employees and neighborhood residents at risk of everything from mercury poisoning to chemical explosions. Some of the problems go back decades and were first brought to light in 2008 when inspectors from the Environmental Protection Agency learned city employees and tenants of city-owned buildings had been throwing spent lamps, which can contain small amounts of mercury, into the trash rather than safely disposing of them. Exposure to mercury can damage the central nervous system and cause breathing problems and memory impairment, especially[...]

Posted 8 years ago

May 27

2014

Buffalo’s recycling program still struggles

Published by

Buffalo is trying to burnish its green credentials with big public investments to clean up its waterways and attract clean energy companies. Recycling is an easier lift, but the city’s anemic program is plagued by fits and starts. City Hall took the major step of distributing green recycling totes to residents in late 2011. Last year, Mayor Byron Brown hired a full-time recycling coordinator. But City Hall is otherwise batting 0 for 4 when it comes to building a successful program. As a result, the city’s curbside recycling rate has leveled off and remains less than half the national average.[...]

Posted 9 years ago

May 27

2014

Subpar recycling effort in suburbs

Published by

Dumpster divers in Niagara Falls find jackpots 5 cents at a time in the form of cans and bottles by the bagful in the garbage. A scruffy man who regularly pulls the bottles and cans out of the trash behind Hyde Park Ice Pavillion said his motivation is simple: “M-O-N-E-Y.” A few minutes of work earned him $12 the April afternoon he spoke to a reporter. That lesson is lost on officials in most of the largest cities and towns in Niagara and Erie counties, where recycling programs are largely an afterthought, an Investigative Post analysis has found. Most of the localities[...]

Posted 9 years ago