- Associated Press - Thursday, October 5, 2017

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) - Excess sewer water again made its way into the Niagara River, two months after tourists saw black-colored water near Niagara Falls, state officials said.

The Niagara Falls Water Board said it reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that excess sewage was discharged on Wednesday when its wastewater treatment plant’s processing capacity was exceeded during a rainfall.

The department said the resulting “badly discolored” river water violated the state’s water quality standards.

“These continued violations are wholly unacceptable,” the DEC said in a statement. It said the maximum penalty for water quality violations is $37,500 per day, per violation.

The water board said it has no way of controlling the color of overflow discharge when it rains. It said the overflow was “a direct result of outdated infrastructure and system design limitations.”

In a statement, the board said it “maintains strong support for massive - and overdue - state and federal investment in capital infrastructure improvements at outdated wastewater treatment facilities across the Great Lakes watershed.”

Many older U.S. wastewater systems have similar problems. The board said the upgrades can be too costly for local municipalities to shoulder alone.

In late July, a foul-smelling discharge turned the water near the base of Niagara Falls an alarming shade of black during a busy tourist weekend.

The state fined the water board $50,000 and said the agency would have to make changes at the plant and obtain state approval before any future discharges.

Local water officials blamed that incident on the outdated equipment, as well as miscommunication between employees.


Information from: WGRZ-TV, https://www.wgrz.com

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