More sewage discharged near Niagara Falls as Cuomo orders a stoppage - The Buffalo News

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More sewage discharged near Niagara Falls as Cuomo orders a stoppage

Another heavy rain meant another significant sewage discharge Tuesday near the base of the American Falls.

The New York Alert system reported that a storm resulted in another combined sewage overflow into the Niagara River from the wastewater treatment plant in Niagara Falls.

An estimated 1.1 million gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater was released about 7 p.m. Tuesday. It’s the latest of 15 releases in the past 12 months that resulted from the city’s sewer system being inundated by rainwater.

Niagara Falls released an estimated 1.1 million gallons of sewage and stormwater into the Niagara River near the Observation Deck again on Tuesday. (NY-Alert)

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating a release of about 3 million gallons last week.

Millions of gallons of raw sewage at falls? Blame the rain

There were five other overflows in July. Those included:

  • July 27: 1.19 million gallons
  • July 23: 1.42 million gallons
  • July 20: 3.45 million gallons
  • July 17: 119.8 million gallons in two separate releases

The Niagara Falls Water Board confirmed a discharge was made and issued this statement:

"Yesterday evening, a wet weather event occurred, which resulted in various discharges across the Buffalo Niagara region, including at the Niagara Falls Water Board’s Gorge Pump Station and Falls Street Tunnel. The NFWB discharge was a result of volume levels exceeding existing storage capacity. This discharge, done in accordance with current permitting, was also promptly reported. All statewide discharges are publicly disclosed at www.nyalert.gov.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday that earlier this month he ordered a stop to all discharges from the sediment basin at the wastewater treatment plant during the ongoing investigation into the spectacular foul-smelling black spill into the Niagara River on July 29.

In a statement, the governor noted, “At my direction, DEC has informed the Niagara Falls Water Board that they must cease any discharges from the sediment basin until the investigation is complete.

“In addition, DEC is instructing the Water Board to evaluate permanent solutions such as requiring automatic shutoff valves,” Cuomo said.

The Water Board has been directed to submit a report on the July 29 incident by Sept. 1, the governor added.

Other discharges in Western New York were reported including a pair in the City of Lockport, into the Erie Canal and Eighteen Mile Creek; the City of Tonawanda into Ellicott Creek; Town of Tonawanda into Ellicott Creek and Two Mile Creek; three overflows from Cheektowaga into Scajaquada Creek; the City of Buffalo into the Black Rock Canal, Buffalo River and Scajaquada Creek; and West Seneca into the Buffalo River, according to reports to NY-Alert.

Attention to the sewer outflows between the American Falls and the Rainbow Bridge has heightened over the past few weeks after a black, foul-smelling discharge was released there July 29.

That was "a dry discharge," meaning it did not result from a weather-related storm overflow.

DEC: Niagara Falls discharge 'clearly violated water quality standards'

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