Taking the Pressure Off of Buffalo's Sewers

August 2, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 6:41 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

August 2, 2013 Updated Aug 2, 2013 at 6:41 PM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) Gallons of water are dumped onto city streets this afternoon for a demonstration of new permeable pavement, a way of limiting the amount of water that enters the city's sewers.

"If too much water enters that sewer system, the sewers overflow directly into the Scajaquada Creek. And they overflow untreated," NYS Assemblyman Sean Ryan said.

So water that seeps through the pavement and into the ground bypasses the sewer system, keeping that raw sewage out of Buffalo's waterways.

"It's more than just a feel good neighborhood improvement, it's improving the health and condition of Scajaquada Creek. We're looking forward to doing this throughout the City of Buffalo, the City of Niagara Falls, and municipalities in between," Jill Jedlicka of the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper organization said.

And while politicians and environmentalists were showing off new technology just up the street, on Ardmore Place some residents continue to fight for their brick street, which they say drains as good if not better than any pavement.

The brick street was recently uncovered after pavement was stripped away. While it doesn't drain perfectly, a demonstration pouring a bottle of water onto the street shows what happens to rainfall on the bricks as opposed to pavement: the water quickly disappears.

"A hundred years ago, that's what you had, and nobody ever had a problem as far as I can tell. It's great," Ardmore Place resident Don Parisi said.

Leading many residents to push for the preservation of their new but old street.

"It's aesthetically pleasing, it's historically cool, and now it is environmental win for the city's sewer system, it's taking a load off of it," Ardmore Place resident Renee Wiedemer added.

The Commissioner of Public Works has been out to inspect the street, and says the bricks do drain very well, and that the city is including that information when making the final decision about the future of Ardmore Place.