Article written by:
Scott M. Rybarczyk, PE, LEED AP
Senior Environmental Engineer
Green Infrastructure is a solution being used more and more to combat a long-existing limitation to Buffalo’s stormwater management systems. During periods of heavy rainfall, the City of Buffalo sewers cannot handle all of the stormwater runoff entering the system. In these situations, overflows occur, allowing sewage and stormwater runoff to enter the Buffalo River, Niagara River, and Scajaquada Creek. Green Infrastructure (GI) can help to eliminate these overflows, protecting the water quality of the waters surrounding Buffalo, NY.
GI addresses this issue by mimicking natural processes that reduce runoff from developed sites. Vegetation that absorbs and captures precipitation where it falls can be used as GI. These GI techniques include things like rain gardens, green roofs, and constructed wetlands. Rain barrels that collect stormwater for future use are also used as GI, and porous pavements can be used to allow stormwater to infiltrate into the soil beneath paved areas.
The Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA) has been championing GI solutions through a program called Raincheck 1.0. Under Raincheck 1.0, BSA focused on completing GI projects on public properties (for example, community centers and roadways). With the program’s evolution into Raincheck 2.0, BSA is migrating towards helping private and institutional landowners (schools, hospitals, government offices) include GI on their properties. To make this happen, BSA will be providing funding to construct GI on these properties.
If you own land in the City of Buffalo and are interested in including GI on your property, Wendel can help! We are experts in GI, as shown in our projects on Ohio Street, Willert Park, and at the Chautauqua Institution. We can act as your trusted advisor as you navigate funding options with the BSA for these projects. Together, we can help improve the environment and water quality in Buffalo, NY.