Well, that stinks

Pollution in Niagara Falls

Jacob Foote

NIAGARA FALLS, NY – Every year, hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world travel to Niagara Falls to marvel in her delights. From the raw power of the water to the historical landmarks, there are many spectacles that capture the public.

However, not all of these sights are pleasing to the eye.

For instance, in July tourists viewing the falls were surprised by the appearance of a noxious black swell in the Niagara river. This was caused by the Niagara Falls Water Board (NFWB), who had released the mixture of carbon residue and other particles into the river as a part of what they called “routine maintenance.” While they claimed the discharge to be within permitted limits, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation was spurred to react, ordering the water board to cease discharges from their sediment basin until an investigation was finished.

However, the DEC’s response was not enough to resolve the issue. Recently, they have threatened the local water board with a $37,000 per day fine for another discharge of sludge that occurred on Oct. 4. This time the discharge was unintentional, as the NFWB told the DEC that it was the result of an overflow caused by rain. Each agency has recognized that the issue stems from the limitations of the current infrastructure, which badly needs to be replaced.

Not all of the issues are eyesores. In the past week, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation fined the Allied Waste Landfill, situated along I-190 and Niagara Falls Boulevard, $75,000 for the presence of air contaminants four times the legal limit. These gases are behind the sulfur odor some students endure on the way to and from campus. Others have to tolerate the smell day-in and day-out in their very homes.

The history of pollution in Niagara Falls does not need to be spelled out for most any resident of the area, nor many tourists for that matter. Such examples as Love Canal are to this day taught nationwide to demonstrate the persistent problem.

When it comes to the root cause of excess and harmful pollution, it may be simply summarized as the callousness of corporations. When profits are at stake, and your competitors are prepared to seize your niche should your cost of operation increase, it makes perfect sense from a business perspective to do what everyone else is doing, and pollute.

Photo: Diego Torres Silvestre, Attribution 2.0 Generic(CC by 2.0)


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