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Lockport may penalize paving company for incident that resulted in water ban

LOCKPORT – The city’s legal staff is looking into whether penalties may be imposed against Northeast Paving of Lancaster for Monday’s hydroseeding incident, which produced a 48-hour ban on drinking city water for residents of several blocks of western Lockport.

Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey said Thursday night, “There was a substantial cost to the city. Twice the (normal) volume of the city’s water was used to flush that.” The city also provided free water to affected residents at Fire Department headquarters.

A Northeast Paving employee connected a tank truck to a city fire hydrant Monday morning without obtaining a city permit or using a backflow preventer, the Water Department said this week. The company confirmed to The Buffalo News that no backflow preventer was used. The worker’s plan was to spray a mixture of grass seed and pulp paper on some bare ground at Anna Merritt Elementary School, where the company had just completed a parking lot expansion project.

However, the seed and paper washed into the water main, and no city permit for the hydrant use had been obtained for Monday. The company did most of its seeding May 15 with a city permit. Water quality tests showed no fertilizer or other chemicals were present in the tank.