$55 million wastewater treatment project under construction in Buffalo

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New York Construction Report staff writer

New York state is funding a $55 million wastewater treatment project, part of the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s long-term plan to modernize the Bird Island facility and significantly reduce the amount of pollution that enters the Niagara River.

Clean water infrastructure upgrades will improve the environment, habitat, and quality of life for Western New Yorkers, while creating good-paying ‘green’ construction jobs, officials said.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown announced the funding at a press conference on Oct. 19 at the treatment plant which was built  1930s.The project will be completed in three phases with completion set for 2029 and will resolve longstanding violations of the Clean Water Act and reduce untreated sewage discharge into the Niagara River.

“The project will help ensure cleaner, healthier water for all residents and visitors to Buffalo and the greater Western New York area,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a statement.

“Together in strong partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, New York state is putting an end to decades of disinvestment in critical water infrastructure that has been left to fall into disrepair.

“This $55 million project will be crucial to safeguarding our public and environmental health, and is the latest investment in our nation-leading efforts to modernize New York’s water infrastructure.”

The project broke ground this week at a ceremony in Buffalo in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The start of construction on this project is a key milestone in the Buffalo Sewer Authority’s course to resolve longstanding violations of the Clean Water Act under an administrative order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that was developed in coordination with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,” Hochul said. “The Bird Island Wastewater Treatment Facility was originally constructed in the 1930s and upgraded in the 1970s.”

The project will increase the facility’s capacity to handle intense rain events that can overwhelm Buffalo’s combined sewer/stormwater system and reduce untreated sewage effluent discharges to the Niagara River.

Funding will also come from the Environmental Facilities Corp., Water Infrastructure Improvement grant program, Clean Water State Revolving Fund and the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Environmental Facilities Corp. is funding the remaining cost of the project with low-cost financing through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

“The upgrades to the Bird Island Wastewater Treatment Facility represent a significant investment into the health of our local environment and the safety of Western New Yorkers,” Congressman Brian Higgins said. “This project builds on the progress we’ve made to clean up local waterways and provide the residents of Buffalo and Western New York with a healthier environment.”

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