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The state Department of Environmental Conservation has denied North Tonawanda Mayor Elizabeth C. Hofffman's request for a permit for aerial spraying to control mosquitoes.

James J. Devald, assistant director of environmental health of the county Health Department, told the Board of Health Thursday that such spraying can be carried out only "to correct an environmental health hazard . . . not for nuisance control."

Department Director Patricia M. Powell also commented that "spraying for comfort control" was denied, and noted "there have been no documented cases of encephalitis (carried by mosquitoes) in Niagara County for seven years."

Any determination of encephalitis would constitute a health hazard, Devald said.

John Wylucki, North Tonawanda's deputy city clerk and a member of the Health Board, said the spraying was sought to control mosquitoes in a wetland area adjacent to Doebler Drive after many resident complaints of mosquito infestations to the mayor.

The mayor had proposed hiring a private firm to do the spraying.

Devald said surface controls such as "dropping pellets and surface hand spraying" by department crews had been used in the past in the area.

The board also commended the Lockport Water Filtration Department for its treatment of Erie Barge Canal Water used by the city for a 10-day period earlier this month during line repairs and a pipeline relocation project.

Lockport Mayor Thomas C. Rotondo Jr. said earlier that use of the canal water saved the city about $175,000 had the city purchased supplies from the Niagara Countly Water District.

Devald also reported that 2,172 domestic pets were vaccinated against rabies at three free rabies clinics in the spring, a 40 percent increase from last year.

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