BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - - Niagara Falls has received most of the publicity this summer when it comes to sewage discharges.
But the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team obtained state data Thursday showing there is almost as much untreated sewage pouring into two other waterways in Western New York.
Just in the last month, according to data from the State Department of Environmental Conservation, there were:
-- 8.3 million gallons of raw sewage dumped into the Niagara River.
-- 3 million gallons of sewage dumped into the Buffalo River.
-- 3 million gallons of sewage discharged into Scajaquada Creek.
That’s enough to fill nine Olympic-sized swimming pools with sewage.
The culprit is the sanitary sewer system in Cheektowaga, which decades ago was primarily wetlands but which now is covered in large part by parking lots. Water runs off the parking lots, overburdening the sanitary sewer system, which then dumps sewage into these waterways during periods of heavy rain.
It’s all legal -- but it’s a problem the state wants to solve long-term.
Cheektowaga is already under a consent order with the DEC to upgrade its sewer system and the state has given the town $20 million dollars in grants and loans to start repairing those sewer pipes.
The DEC also offers a service that sends text messages to your phone each time sewage is dumped into a nearby waterway. You can sign up for that service by clicking here.