Oops, I did it again

DEC slams Niagara Falls Water Board over another sewage discharge

Nico Santangelo

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – The New York Department of Environment Conservation threatened the Niagara Falls Water Board with a $37,000 per day fine after another sewage discharge discolored the lower Niagara River on Oct. 4.

“These continued violations are wholly unacceptable,” the DEC stated in a public statement. “The NFWB must take immediate corrective measures and DEC will pursue additional enforcement as appropriate as part of our ongoing actions to hold the NFWB accountable and protect water quality.”

The DEC’s sudden interest in Niagara Falls’ sewer habits started over the summer when an inky-black plume of foul-smelling discharge was accidently released during the peak tourism hours.

The latest discharge, however, was the result of an overflow from heavy rains. The Niagara Falls Water Board notified the DEC in full compliance of the arrangement, and are unsure as to how the DEC expects them to fix the issue.

The Niagara Falls Water Board released the following response:

“The board is aware of the DEC’s statement alleging that the resulting discharge violated water quality standards because of its color. The root cause of such overflow occurrences – of which the DEC is well aware and has been working with the NFWB on – is a direct result of outdated infrastructure and system design limitations that impact overall facility capacity during heavy volume periods. The NFWB also has no way of controlling for color or turbidity with respect to the overflow water during a wet weather event.”

Investigative Post was quick to point out that 54 water treatment plants in the state reported almost 300 sewer overflows in August alone, with many occurring in Western New York. In Niagara Falls, 75 sewer discharged occurred in 2016, with 78 in 2015.

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