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State grants to help pay for environment projects in Erie County

State grants announced Thursday will help pay for projects to clean up Scajaquada Creek, improve sewer systems and promote green infrastructure programs in Erie County.

The state’s Regional Economic Development Council grants total millions of dollars.

The Buffalo Sewer Authority received a $1.8 million grant to “help mitigate flooding and improve water quality between Main Street and Elmwood Avenue” in the city’s Scajaquada Creek corridor. Funds will used to help restoration efforts in and around the creek.

The towns of Cheektowaga and West Seneca along with villages of Depew, Sloan and Lancaster also received grants to help improve municipal sewage systems.

West Seneca, Depew, Lancaster and Sloan each received $100,000 each for engineering studies associated with their wastewater systems.

The town of Cheektowaga was given $80,000 for an engineering study “to evaluate solutions to sanitary sewer overflow problems,” according to the grant award document.

“More than anything else, this funding is unique,” said Sen. Tim Kennedy, D-Buffalo. “It’s very focused on economic development and cleaning up the environment.”

Kennedy called for environmental cleanups in places like the Scajaquada Creek corridor in Buffalo, former Bethlehem Steel Corp. site in Lackawanna and Cheektowaga’s distressed sewage system.

Other grants for environment-related projects include:

• $2.28 million for redeveloping the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna.

• $900,000 green infrastructure grant to Buffalo RiverWorks to retrofit areas at its Ganson Street site with porous pavement as well as other structural improvements and informational signage.

• $388,054 to the Western New York Stormwater Coalition to analyze green infrastructure and map storm systems.

“These are some of the most important issues in our area,” Kennedy said.