Sometimes the best tours are the most unexpected. Most of us have toured the architectural wonders of Buffalo. But how many have ever toured the Bird Island Wastewater Treatment Plant? That’s what I thought. The plant was probably not on your bucket list when it comes to tours, but now that you’re thinking about it, it’s not such a bad idea, is it? After all, the plant is part of our waterfront, for better or worse. That said, there’s an inherent curiosity when it comes to these types of plants, because they are essentially out of sight, out of mind, which makes them so desirable to tour when the opportunities arise.
Thanks to El Museo’s “Infrastructure Tourism” program, we now get a chance to check out the Bird Island Wastewater Treatment facility, which is, as you know, the place where all of Buffalo’s sewage waste ends up. Now is your chance to see exactly what happens with that waste… and it’s a lot of waste – the Bird Island Wastewater Treatment Plant is considered one of the largest of its kind in New York State.
This unusual tour will be led by Buffalo Sewer Authority’s Alex Emmerson, who will explain everything that you ever wanted to know about aerators, clarifiers, digesters, and sludge cakes. The tour will be held at the plant’s primary facility (built in the 1930s) and secondary facility (built in the 1970s). Following are all of the details that you need to know to get in on this obscure adventure:
Bird Island Wastewater Treatment Plant Tour
Wednesday, August 8, 2018 | 1:00pm–4:00pm
This tour takes place both indoors and outdoors regardless of weather, so please wear comfortable shoes and dress accordingly. The tour includes considerable walking, and is not wheelchair accessible as there are many sets of steps and narrow spaces.
The tour is FREE with registration; a suggested donation of $10 ($5 for El Museo members) is requested. Get tickets. Closed-toe shoes are REQUIRED (no sandals, flip-flops, etc). Tour meets at 1pm at Broderick Park (Foot of Ferry). Tour length is approximately three to four hours.
By transit: Take NFTA Metro Bus routes 5, 12, or 40 to Niagara and West Ferry Streets, walk west across the drawbridge (about 5 minutes), then turn left to find the pavilion.
By car: Broderick Park’s official address is 1170 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14213. Drive down Robert Rich Way across the drawbridge, then turn left to the FREE parking lot.