Pollution in Delaware Park, Brought To You By The Buffalo Sewer Authority
A walk to remember... for all the wrong reasons
A couple of months ago a friend and I went for a stroll near Delaware Park's Hoyt Lake.
Minutes into a walk that began near the rowboats located at the bottom of the steps behind Marcy Casino and the Albright Knox Art Gallery, we were assaulted with a wretched smell coming from a creek along the park's walk path.
Curious, we walked toward the source of the smell and were confronted with a lake featuring floating trash and swimming fish. We joked that the scene was somewhat reminiscent of a Simpsons episode featuring a three-eyed mutant fish swimming in the sewer water contaminated by the nearby power plant.
The smell is impossible to ignore and it has discouraged my friend and I from walking up the same path again on a number of occasions. We've since opted for other walking options around the city, such as the loop in Delaware Park near the zoo or along the Erie Basin Marina.
What makes this scene even more disturbing is that the contaminated creek sewer is within close proximity of the Shakespeare in Delaware Park production, which attracts thousands of outdoor theater enthusiasts from throughout the region.
Here's a video I posted of the incident that day on my Instagram page:
So, it came of little surprise when I ran into an Investigative Post piece written today about the toxic sewers that border Hoyt Lake and lies within one of Buffalo Olmsted Park Conservancy's crown jewel in the park system it oversees.
As it turns out, the toxic chemical compound that has formed and fermented at the lake over the years has been responsible for the deaths of countless birds and other animal species.
So who's responsible for cleaning up this mess? According to the Investigative Post analysis, the Buffalo Sewer Authority was tasked with the job... way back in 1993!
The only way to get rid of the toxin is to dredge. That’s exactly what the DEC ordered the Buffalo Sewer Authority to do in November 1993 by emergency order. But the sewer authority never performed the work.
Here's an excerpt from the Investigative Post piece titled "The Scajaquada is a crippled creek", written by Dan Telvok:
Gross doesn’t even begin to describe the water in Scajaquada Creek.
Municipalities dump more than a half billion gallons of sewage mixed with untreated stormwater into the creek annually. That putrid cocktail has fouled the creek’s water in a variety of ways.
Sludge composed of decaying human feces and other contaminants is up to five feet deep in places along the creek bottom.
Fecal bacteria is present at levels up to 20 times higher than what’s considered safe for recreational use.
Avian botulism, which has paralyzed and eventually killed hundreds, if not thousands of birds over the years, lurks in a stretch that cuts through Forest Lawn Cemetery and Delaware Park.
And if that’s not enough, the Scajaquada empties into the Black Rock Canal, which is used by boaters, fishermen and crew teams.
“There’s no doubt that Scajaquada Creek is probably a horror story of what not to do to a creek,” said Jill Jedlicka, executive director of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper...
Read the full Investigative Post story here.