More sewage water leaks into Niagara River

Officials in upstate New York say excess sewer water again made its way into the Niagara River after a high-profile discharge of black-colored water last summer.
The Maid of Mist is shown travelling through black-colored wastewater treatment discharge in the Niagara River near the American side on Saturday, July 29. (Patrick J. Proctor/Rainbow Air Inc./AP)

Officials in New York state say excess sewer water again made its way into the Niagara River after a high-profile discharge of black-colored water last summer.

The Niagara Falls Water Board says it reported to the state Department of Environmental Conservation that excess sewage was discharged on Wednesday.

In a press release issued Wednesday the board said "a wet weather event occurred in Niagara Falls that resulted in a discharge from the NFWB's wastewater system. The NFWB discharge was an overflow that resulted from volume levels exceeding existing storage and plant processing capacity."

WGRZ-TV reports state officials said in a statement that the discolored water is "wholly unacceptable."

Officials say the water board must immediately make corrections. The DEC's maximum penalty for water quality violations are $37,500 per day.

The water board says it has no way of controlling the colour of overflow discharge during a wet weather event.

In late July, a discharge of foul-smelling water from the board's wastewater treatment plant turned the water near the base of Niagara Falls turned an alarming shade of black.

Last month, New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will fine the Niagara Falls Water Board $50,000 US for the July discharge. Cuomo also ordered an investigation.

"Polluting one of world's greatest wonders is completely intolerable and unacceptable, and this action today will hold the Niagara Falls Water Board accountable, require them to clean up their practices and protect the economically important Niagara River," Cuomo said in a statement released on the governor's website in September.