Physical Geography and Sciences


Caitlin Ernst



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Caitlin Ernst, GES460: Environmental Field Methods
Faculty Mentor(s): Professor Elisa Bergslien, Earth Sciences and Science Education

Buffalo, like many older cities, has a Combined Sewer system, where the rain running into drains along the streets enters shared pipes with the discharge from the residential and industrial sewage system. During heavy rain events, when large amounts of rainwater enter the pipes, the system can be overwhelmed and a mixture of rain and untreated sewage can be discharged directly into nearby bodies of water through Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) outfalls. According to the Buffalo Sewer Authority (BSA), there are several CSO outfalls along Cazenovia Creek that let out near parks or recreation areas. This could be potentially hazardous, especially for children or pets playing. For this project, water, soil and sediment samples will be taken from several locations along the creek. Samples will be taken during normal periods as well as after rain/high flow events. Samples will be taken downstream from overflow points at constant intervals, and at points by public areas. Vegetation and wildlife will be observed, and samples will also be taken near area with potentially dying or lacking in vegetation. As many historical readings, reports or samples that may have been taken along the creek as can be located will also be incorporated in this project. In addition, this information will be compared, wherever possible, to the historic Redlining Maps created by agents of the federal government's Home Owners' Loan Corporation between 1935 and 1940 to see if there is any relationship between overflows still not fixed, the amount of discharge and the areas where they are found.

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Relationship Between Parks and Combined Sewer Overflows Along Cazenovia Creek
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