Constituent Services
Higgins Announces $500,000 for Project to Prevent Contamination of the Niagara River from Buffalo Niagara International Airport Funds to Treat Glycol Runoff from Airport
January 30, 2006
Buffalo, NY—Today, Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) announced that the Fiscal Year 2006 Transportation, Treasury, and HUD Appropriations bill contains $500,000 which he requested to construct reed beds in subsidiaries to the Niagara River surrounding the Buffalo Niagara International Airport to treat glycol runoff.  This innovative, biologically–based approach will prevent pollution of the Niagara River by treating runoff containing glycol, a chemical used in deicing solutions at the airport. 
The project, called the Subsurface Engineered Wetland Water Quality Project, is necessary to treat non-point source glycol runoff from airside pavement at the Buffalo Airport.  Currently, storm water discharges at BNIA drain directly to Ellicott Creek at the north end of the airport and to the U-Crest Ditch, a tributary of Scajaquada Creek at the south side; both of these creeks drain to the Niagara River.  In recent years, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) has improved its glycol collection capability by reducing the storm water discharge into Ellicott Creek.  However, by collecting more glycol wastewater, NFTA increased the volume of effluent to the Buffalo Sewer Authority, through the Town of Cheektowaga’s facilities.  The existing system does not have the capacity to accommodate the increased levels of effluent.
As a result, the NFTA proposed the construction of the Subsurface Engineered Wetland Water Quality Project, for which this funding will be used.  The project will preserve and enhance the water quality of Scajaquada and Ellicott Creeks, as well as the Niagara River by using an innovative, biologically-based method to treat the effluent.  The Buffalo Niagara International Airport will be the first airport in the United States to implement a project like this, joining London Heathrow, Toronto and Edmonton airports in their attempt to reduce airport impact on surrounding neighborhoods and water quality.
“This critical project will protect the health of our families by keeping the Niagara River free of glycol runoff from the airport,” said Congressman Higgins.  “Enhancing and protecting the water quality of our creeks, rivers and lakes is of utmost importance in Western New York, and I am pleased that I was able to secure this funding to continue the process and to help the Buffalo region be at the forefront of environmental protection.”

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