The Buffalo Sewer Authority disposes of half the sewage of suburban Erie County and is large enough to handle the other half if a tentative regionalism idea becomes reality.
Last week Anthony A. Hazzan, general manager of the authority, said the city will be ready to examine possibilities when the new county administration has in place its structure for handling county sewer districts.
"It is our strategy to sit down and talk about how we could combine some of the services and pass (the savings) on to the ratepayers," Hazzan said.
The day after his election, County Executive-elect Joel A. Giambra revealed that he and Mayor Anthony M. Masiello already had talked about consolidation of vital services. He noted that a regional approach to providing water or disposing of waste could be a good place to focus. "I don't know many people who have a great affection for their sewer or water pipes," Giambra said at the time.
Hazzan said the sewer authority's treatment system already receives the wastes of Erie County Sewer District 1, including Cheektowaga and the north part of West Seneca, and District 4, including Depew and part of Lancaster. The districts send 30 million gallons of waste water through the city system each day.
"Our total capacity is 180 million gallons and we average 140 million gallons a day," Hazzan said. "We have 40 million in unused capacity."
The part of Erie County that the Buffalo system does not assist would produce about 30 million additional gallons, Hazzan said.
The sewer authority operates on a $43 million annual budget, Michael Rehak, executive secretary, said.
While ready for growth, the authority has reduced its payroll by attrition from 302 employees in 1994 to 252 currently. Wednesday, directors voted to delete another 15 vacant jobs, with an impact on the budget of about $600,000 a year.
Rehak said computers now control the flow at key areas once manned by three or four workers.
The agency Wednesday earmarked $1 million of its $5.4 million surplus from last year for new storm sewers for parts of Laird, Ross and Chadduck avenues and Ontario, Bell and Archer streets. Another $650,000 will go to new sewers to carry waste water and $3.7 million will go to plant improvements.