Hamilton

Niagara Falls board ordered to halt black water discharges

State officials have told a western New York public agency that it must cease the type of wastewater discharges that caused a stretch of the Niagara River below Niagara Falls to turn black and smelly.
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)

State officials have told a western New York public agency that it must cease the type of wastewater discharges that caused a stretch of the Niagara River below Niagara Falls to turn black and smelly.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the Department of Environmental Conservation has ordered the Niagara Falls Water Board to cease any discharges from the agency's sediment basin until the state's investigation into the July 29 black water discharge is completed.

The incident happened when workers at the local wastewater treatment plant located upriver from the falls let a pump run too long while emptying a sedimentation basin. The basin contained residue from the cleaning of carbon filters at the plant.

The water near the base of Niagara Falls turned an alarming shade of black before the eyes of tourists gathered there. There was also a foul smell.

The Democratic governor says the DEC has told the board to submit a report on the discharge by Sept. 1.

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