Brian Peteritas is a GOVERNING contributor.E-mail: email@example.com
Aging infrastructure can be easily overwhelmed by modern demands and the sewer system of Buffalo, N.Y., is no exception. The city has been plagued by water pollution problems caused by heavy rain and snowmelt overflow and The Buffalo News reports that it is spending 60 million to make capital improvements. In the meantime, the city has launched a pilot program in partnership with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to provide 150 homes with 60-gallon barrels to collect rainwater. The water can be used for watering plants and lawns, saving residents an average of $34 per year on their water bills. The total cost for the program is estimated to be $15,000 and at this point is entirely voluntary for area residents who can have city crews perform the installations for them. Over the course of several months the Sewer Authority will monitor how much water reaches the system in the pilot neighborhood and compare it to that of a nearby area that will have no barrels in use. If the program is a success citywide implementation could be completed in one year.