BSA protects public health and our Great Lakes waterways from water pollution. Our job is to maintain and improve the infrastructure, innovation, and efficiency of our water resources to ensure the quality of life throughout Western New York.
Operating as usual
So our influent travels through our Fine Screens ... Where to next? Through our Conduit and Flow Meters!
A conduit is a pipe or a channel for conveying water. These massive pipes are located underground throughout our Treatment Plant to direct the flow of water. Each conduit has a meter attached that reads the amount of water flowing through. These meters can calculate flows of over 1,000 gallons a second! Many flow meters are placed at various points throughout the facility.
After traveling through the conduit, our effluent is headed for the Grit Building!
Yesterday Mayor Byron W. Brown and Buffalo Sewer General Manager Oluwole (OJ) McFoy participated in a roundtable with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan and Assistant Administrator Radhika Fox. Alongside fellow US Water Alliance board members from Houston and Seattle, we support the Administration's leadership on water infrastructure through the proposed $111 billion with the "American Jobs Plan". This funding will repair and modernize our aging infrastructure through innovative and equity-focused water projects.
This dialogue allowed space to discuss the challenges and opportunities with #WaterInfrastructure investment with our federal partners. The need to reduce lead in drinking water was highlighted as a top priority by replacing all US lead water service lines. Thank you Michael for facilitating this roundtable!
Today, we joined the City of Buffalo in recognizing AmeriCorps VISTA - Project MOVE Buffalo volunteers during National Service Recognition Day! Buffalo Sewer would like to send a special shoutout to our AmeriCorps VISTA Sydney Collins. Sydney hit the ground running immediately upon her arrival. Sydney plays an invaluable role offering her fresh and innovative ideas, managing our social media platforms, and her commitment to serving the citizens of the City of Buffalo. Join us in thanking Sydney for all of her hardwork, commitment and dedication to helping improve the lives of our neighbors. Thank you, Sydney!
Happy #ThankAnOperatorThursday! Today we want to thank our Operator Mark for serving almost 10 years at Buffalo Sewer since January 2012. Mark is an Operator II with his 3A Certification. Initially as a mechanic in his early career, Mark came to Buffalo Sewer in awe of how we use microbiology to control anaerobic digestion which breaks down solids and then allows us recover and reuse resources such as methane. “It’s incredible!” he says.
Mark appreciates his job as an Operator because it makes him feel useful. “I like to find a problem and fix it. It gives me a purpose”. Thank you Mark for your dedication to keep our Treatment Plant running – we certainly appreciate YOU!
President Biden introduces plan for $111 Billion in Water Infrastructure Investment! Yesterday marks a historic day with Biden's "American Jobs Plan" that outlines his vision for strengthening our infrastructure, improving economic competitiveness, and addressing climate change.
This bill includes funding...
•To eliminate all lead pipes and service lines in our country with $45 billion in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency grants
•To modernize aging drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater systems with $56 billion in grants and low-cost loans
•To monitor and remediate PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in drinking water with $10 billion
Buffalo Sewer applauds President Biden's commitment to strengthening federal investment in water infrastructure. Thank you National Association of Clean Water Agencies and The Value of Water for your advocacy on the importance of federal investment!
The 2021 Earth Day Rain Barrel and Compost Bin Sale is now ready for orders! Rain barrels capture rainwater runoff from the roof of your house which you can reuse to water your gardens, lawns, and plants and also wash items. Not only does this conserve water, but it also reduces the amount of stormwater runoff flowing into our sewer system.
Our GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE initiative Rain Check launched a Rain Barrel program in 2015 giving away over 1,000 free barrels across the city of Buffalo. This prevents nearly 172,920 gallons of water from entering our sewer system in a typical rainfall event!
Happy #ThankAnOperatorThursday! Our Operator Scott was recently spotlighted on the New York Water Environment Association - NYWEA monthly newsletter. Let's hear!
Scott has been a Water Resource Recovery Operator since 2015. He has obtained his 3A Operator Certification in early 2020 and looking to gain his 4A in the near future. While on site Scott enjoys the complexity and intricacy of solids handling. Two of the many areas Scott excels at is troubleshooting the dissolved air flotation
thickener system and understanding the process inside Buffalo Sewer’s 6 Anaerobic Digesters.
Thank you for being a great ambassador for operators and a wonderful teammate in operations at Buffalo Sewer!
Check out this awesome article about Buffalo Sewer's Green Infrastructure program Rain Check lead by Landscape Architect Kevin J. Meindl!
Since 2015, Rain Check has transformed over 9 miles of city-owned streets, hundreds of green demolition sites, and several community parking lot retrofits. Rain Check 2.0 will expand the program to include private property owners and target six priority basins for investment in the city of #Buffalo. https://climate.asla.org/Raincheck.html
Landscape architects plan smart climate solutions for entire cities. In Buffalo, New York, landscape architect Kevin Meindl, ASLA, leads the innovative program Rain Check 2.0, which offers grants to private landowners to capture stormwater through trees, rain gardens, green roofs and streets. http://bit.ly/3cnWpqQ #ASLAClimate
Beginning at Bar Racks and then flowing to our Raw Wastewater Pumps ... What comes next in our water treatment process? Our Fine Screens! Fine Screens operate similarly to Bar Racks as they remove objects such as rags, paper, plastics, and other solids, but the screening is 5/8 of an inch compared to 3 1/2 inches to collect smaller debris. This also prevents damage and clogging of downstream equipment.
Here we have our Operator Sal demonstrating how the Fine Screens work by turning it on; however, they are usually scheduled for 15 minute intervals depending on the rate of flow.
Talking about his role operating the Fine Screens, Sal says "Some people say it's science and technology, but it's also an art. Each machine has their own little quirks and works a bit differently ... They definitely have personality".
Tune in next week to learn about the next step at Buffalo Sewer’s facility -- our Underground Conduit and Flow Meters!
Check out Community Action Organization of Western New York (CAO) Shutoff Prevention program at 716-881-5150 ext. 4371 to receive up to $200 on your water bill! Visit https://getwaterwisebuffalo.org/ for more information about Buffalo Sewer Water Bill Assistance programs. 💧
The CAO S.P.P. (Shutoff Prevention Program) is officially open! This program aims to help households avoid utility shutoffs. Those eligible may receive up to $200 towards a past-due gas, electric or water bill. To prove eligibility, individuals must provide photo ID, proof of monthly income, proof of address, proof of a Covid-19 related hardship and a past due utility bill in their name. Please call 716-881-5150 ext. 4371 for more info. #covid19relief
Last Thursday, Buffalo Sewer Assistant Principal Engineer Rosaleen Nogle presented to American Council of Engineering Companies of New York about "Buffalo's Sewer: 185 Years of Improving Public Health and the Environment".
Seen here is Rosey discussing the Storm Relief and Sprawl of the 1940s to 1970s: a period in which we saw changes in population and the collection system infrastructure that have made today’s Smart Sewers possible. Thank you Rosey for your efforts to educate about the history of Buffalo's Sewers!
Happy #WorldWaterDay! World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis and achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.
In 2021, the theme is valuing water. At Buffalo Sewer, we #ValueWater by implementing innovative technologies to collect and treat sanitary water and stormwater and protect the Great Lakes from pollution.
How is water important to your home and family life, your livelihood, your cultural practices, your wellbeing, your local environment? #Water2Me
Happy #ThankAnOperatorThursday! This week we want to give a huge thanks to our Operator II Roscoe. Roscoe has been working at Buffalo Sewer for 5 years this month. When asked about his favorite place to work at the Treatment Plant, Roscoe expressed his love for Aeration.
"My favorite part is Aeration. Growing up, I played football and was a defensive lineman. In Aeration I'm the last line of defense, of sludge defense. It's where I'm comfortable. I feel important".
Roscoe also extended a piece of advice for any new-comers on the job: Remember to say attention, and be proactive not reactive. Thank you Roscoe for your dedication to keeping Buffalo water clean!
Happy St. Patrick’s day from all-things-green at our Treatment Plant! 🍀
Yesterday Buffalo Sewer ‘s Senior Instrument Tech Tim Blake presented at New York Water Environment Association - NYWEA Greater Buffalo Environmental Conference! Tim discussed the coordination between two major rehabilitation projects: Settled Wastewater Control and Settled Wastewater Pump & Motor Rehabilitation. With over 45 people directly involved from four different states and two countries, the cost of these combined projects was large totaling over 2.5 million dollars.
While some challenges arose such a Hoist malfunction and some blown fuses with our pumps, this project was ultimately successful with all five pumps and motors available for use and all control panels finalized as a duplicate of each other.
Thank you so much Tim for your great presentation and for spotlighting the awesome work done at our Treatment Plant!
Check out "Buffalo Sewers: A History of the Queen City from Below" written by Buffalo Sewer's own Assistant Principal Engineer Rosaleen Nogle! Published in Western New York Heritage's Winter Issue, this article explores the history of Buffalo's sewer system over the past 200 years from backyard latrines and cesspools to our innovative smart technology. Congratulations Rosey on this publication!
Happy #ThankAnOperatorThursday! Today we extend a special thank you to our Operator II Ashley. Ashley has been working at Buffalo Sewer for over 5 years and is a great asset on our team. When asked about a favorite part of the Treatment Plant, Ashley talked about having a sweet spot for Main Pump with its Art Deco design and impressive role at the facility. Thank you for your service!
Happy 3-11 day! The City of #Buffalo has a 311 Call and Resolution Center that provides residents with fast, centralized access to city services. This number can be utilized for many reasons including pest control, tree plantings, housing inspections, and yes sewer maintenance!
This morning our Buffalo Sewer construction crew were on site to respond to a 311 concern. Residents called the line to inform about a sewer backup, and after inspection, our crews located damage to the street sewer line! With our diamond blade saw, backhoe, and other machinery on deck, our team will dig up the damaged pipe and patch it up with PVC. After some backfill of stone and a nice asphalt seal, the issue is fixed with only a couple days of work!
We thank our partners at the City for making this platform accessible, and our awesome crews working hard to get the job done!
Last Wednesday, we checked out our inlet bar racks building. This week – Raw Wastewater Pumps! These powerful machines can pump 100s of millions of gallons per day through the first part of treatment, known as primary treatment. Over 20 feet high, these huge pumps tower over our Operator Andrew!
Tune in next week to learn about our Fine Screens …💦
We are here to help! The deadline for our Water Amnesty program has been extended through June 2021 to help Buffalo residents currently behind on utility payments, or in need of additional assistance. You can enroll by calling (716) 847-1065 or visit http://bit.ly/GWW-WaterAmnesty for more information! #LetsGetWaterWise Please SHARE!
Spot any yellow-vested superstars in the streets of Buffalo today? That well may be Buffalo Sewer 's Collection System crews. One frequent responsibility is hydro-cleaning our sewer pipes with our awesome combination flusher-vacuum truck and looking awesome while doing it. The flushing component of the truck allows our crews to break up clogs and cut tree roots that can cause blockages. Don’t forget to say hi as you pass by!
Happy #InternationalWomensDay! Today we celebrate the many dedicated women at Buffalo Sewer Authority and within the water sector in the fight against gender inequality. From operators to engineers to human resources, we understand the important role #WomenInWater play in our industry. We thank you for your service!
Last Friday Mayor Byron W. Brown presented his 2021 Virtual State of the City Address that highlighted the many accomplishments in #Buffalo over this past year and his continued commitment to the well-being of the city. We want to thank the Mayor in recognizing the many achievements of Buffalo Sewer and Buffalo Water.
In 2020 in response to the public health crisis COVID-19, we suspended late fees for water and sewer bills, restored water service to households shut-off for nonpayment, and launched a water amnesty program for financial assistance. We also continued to replace old lead lines at over 500 households with our ROLL program, and installed new technologies for our "smart sewers" to enhance efficiency of our sewer system.
We thank our dedicated staff who made all these efforts possible! As we envision a more affordable and resilient year ahead, we cannot do it without the support of federal investment in our water infrastructure. Join us to help support the common goal of accessible clean, safe, and affordable water for all at https://www.affordableh2o.org/.
Join Mayor Byron W. Brown on his page to watch his Virtual State of the City address!
Happening TODAY! Tune in at Noon!
Deadline for our Water Amnesty Program extended till the end of June 2021! Visit http://bit.ly/GWW-WaterAmnesty or call (716) 847-1065 to apply today. Please SHARE!
Did you miss your opportunity to apply for extra help with your water bills through Buffalo Water’s Amnesty/Forgiveness Program? If so, good news: The deadline for application has been extended through June 2021 to aid Buffalo residents currently behind on utility payments, or in need of additional assistance. Eligible individuals can enroll by calling (716) 847-1065, then agreeing to specific program criteria to erase water service-related debt. Call today or visit http://bit.ly/GWW-WaterAmnesty for more information. #LetsGetWaterWise
Happy #ThankAnOperatorThursday! Today we are lucky to celebrate our employee Pat on his recent 3A Operator Certification. Pat has been working at Buffalo Sewer for the past 5 years and is a great addition to our team. Thank you Pat for you and all your expertise!
Did you know it's #GreatLakesDay? Never a better way to celebrate than chilling where the magic happens. Treatment plants are key players in keeping the Great Lakes free of pollution and trash. Our process begins with wastewater rushing into our inlet wells 💦 and is then directed to our ✨bar racks✨ to remove large debris. From here the water begins to flow through the rest of the plant...
Tune in next Wednesday to hear the next step of our facility!
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We are 85 years old today! For the past 8 decades we have strived to protect our Great Lakes by collecting and cleaning billions of gallons of water for drinking, food, cleaning, health care, industry use and recreation. Thank you to all of our current and past employees who have worked tirelessly providing a 24 hours a day 7 days a week essential service to the residents of the City of Buffalo!
Our Smart Sewer located at Hertel at Deer in action. This is a view just upstream of the newly installed RTC structure holding back the flow of water from the rain today! Smart Sewers throughout our city help to prevent overflows during wet weather.
Football is Back! #BillsCamp has begun and with that comes a recap of the rookies coming to our beautiful City Hall featuring @MayorByronBrown and our own General Manager OJ McFoy!
General Manager McFoy talking with students at Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction’s career day!
As the City of Buffalo developed initially, the Niagara River was used as an economical and convenient means of disposal for the community’s sewage. As the city continued to grow, a sewer system was gradually constructed to carry combined sewage and stormwater to the Buffalo River, Scajaquada Creek, and Black Rock Canal. Untreated sewage was discharged directly into these water bodies at several points throughout the city. As Buffalo grew, so did the volume and concentration of sewage discharged to the receiving water bodies. The health of the receiving water bodies and the surrounding environment became severely threatened.
In 1935 the New York Health Department mandated the City of Buffalo to discontinue without delay the menacing nuisance of pollution of the River waters. Persistent pollution and disease as well as treaties between the United States and Canada (Boundary Waters Treaty) lead to a reassessment of the means by which not only Buffalo, but many cities on the border’s waters, disposed of sanitary wastewater. The Niagara River was specifically named as among the most important of the boundary waters.
Buffalo Sewer, a public benefit corporation, was created by an Act of the Legislature in the spring of 1935 and delegated the responsibility for providing an effectual means of relieving the Niagara River and other tributary streams from pollution by sewage and waste. Buffalo Sewer was authorized to borrow money, issue bonds and provide for their repayment, fix and collect rates and rentals, and in general assume full-responsibility for carrying out the State Health Department’s mandate.
Buffalo Sewer accepted and fulfilled its responsibility in full conformity with the intent and spirit of the mandate. It provided a system of intercepting sewers to bring sewage of the city to a then modern (1938) and efficient primary sewage treatment plant where solid matter was removed and incinerated, and all liquid matter chlorinated. With respect to the collection system, the City of Buffalo constructed a then state of the art combined sewer system that collected and transmitted sanitary and stormwater within a single pipe system. By design, the combined system was constructed with a number of overflow points, referred to as combined sewer overflows or CSOs which relieved the system during rainfall events when the large amounts of water (stormwater primarily) could have damaged the treatment plant and private property. For decades following its construction, the system served the city and surrounding suburbs well and continues to do so today.
However, with the increasing national awareness of the need to more fully protect our water resources, the State in 1966 directed further improvement of the facilities by providing secondary treatment. With the help of federal and state grants, secondary treatment facilities were constructed and placed in service in 1981. Throughout these improvements, the collection system continued to operate adequately with few improvements.
In the early 1990s the regulatory focus shifted from the treatment facilities to the collection systems. Not only in Buffalo but across the United States, emphasis was now being placed on the impacts of sewer overflows and on their reduction. In addition, Buffalo Sewer recognized the general inadequacy of the storm water capabilities of the existing combined sewer system of the city and prepared a comprehensive plan for the enlargement and betterment of the stormwater overflow system. It has since been engaged in the construction of sewers according to this plan and has eliminated many areas of formerly prevalent basement and surface flooding, as well as a number of the designed CSOs. Over time the need for continued reduction in the CSO events and volumes has been recognized by the regulatory agencies as well as Buffalo Sewer, and for some years now all new construction has been planned, whenever possible, to achieve this result or concept.
While much remains to be done, Buffalo Sewer is progressing toward having a high level of protection against such undesirable occurrences and at the same time doing its share in the fight against water pollution.