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Lockport Fire Dept. offers free watering station for residents in area of drinking ban

LOCKPORT – The Fire Department is offering a free watering station at its headquarters in City Hall for residents affected by a contractor’s mistake that led to a ban on the use of city water in the western part of the city.

The state Health Department issued an order Monday to not drink city water for all houses on Corinthia Street, south to West Ontario Street, east to Prospect Street and west to Trowbridge Street.

Dale W. Lawson Jr., city water distribution maintenance supervisor, identified the contractor as Northeast Paving, a Lancaster company that was hydroseeding grass near a paving project at Anna Merritt Elementary and North Park Junior High schools. He said the company told city officials that no chemicals were being used and that the crew was spraying grass seed mixed with pulped paper.

Lawson said a Northeast crew opened a fire hydrant on Green Street about 8 a.m. Monday and pumped about 800 gallons of water into a tanker truck to use in the spraying. He said a city permit is needed for such water use, but none was sought, and the crew had a backflow preventer but chose not to use it. The seed and paper entered the pipe because the pressure in the tank was greater than that in the water main, Lawson said.

The chance of contamination was called remote, but those in the affected area were asked to use bottled water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth and preparing food until further notice.

Water sampling has been conducted and results should be available by Wednesday, city officials said, while the city is working to flush the system.

When the water is confirmed to be satisfactory, residents will be instructed to flush all of their own water taps, after removing their aerator screens, for a minimum of five minutes or until the water runs clear. Hot water tanks should be flushed for about 10 minutes.