Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster welcomed more than 300 Great Lakes advocates to the region this week by asking them if they'd heard about the late July black sewage discharge at the American Falls.
Most raised their hands.
"It took about five minutes for that image to travel around the globe," Dyster said.
He added: "Generally speaking, one would say that's a bad thing. But one of the things that's happened subsequently is our local news media have gotten really focused on the issue of combined sewer overflows."
Now, Dyster acknowledged almost every sewage overflow at the falls is documented.
"Maybe that is the case where something that we had ... swept under the carpet and somehow regarded as an acceptable way to do business is now somehow becoming unacceptable," Dyster said.