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by Dan Telvock - Environmental Reporter

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- For the first time, the numbers are flowing in on sewer overflows across the state and it isn't pretty.

In Erie County, almost 7 million gallons of untreated sewage were discharged into local waterways in May.

This information wasn't publicly available on the Internet until the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law went into effect last month.

Based on what's reported so far, the biggest repositories of raw sewage were Ellicott Creek (2 million gallons), Scajaquada Creek (1 million) and the Niagara River (679,000). Heavy rain or snow melt is often the cause of these overflows. The ground water seeps through cracks in the sewer pipes or enters the sanitary sewer system through footing drains, sump pumps or improperly connected downspouts.