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Paving company pays fine, reimbursement in Lockport water incident

LOCKPORT – Northeast Paving of Lancaster has paid a fine to the Niagara County Health Department and reimbursed the county for expenses connected to the investigation of a May 18 incident in which one of the company’s employees, seeking to spray a job site with grass seed, accidentally let a mixture of seed and pulped paper into a City of Lockport water main.

Ronald Gwozdek, county public health engineer, said Thursday that Northeast paid the maximum fine of $250 for violating the county sanitary code, and also paid the county $3,901 for the costs of personnel, lab testing and materials used in probing the case.

A Northeast worker connected a tanker truck to a city fire hydrant near Anna Merritt Elementary School on Green Street without permission and did not use a backflow preventer. The seed-paper mixture got into the pipes, and a 48-hour ban on drinking city water in the neighborhood resulted.

Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano said an insurance investigator for the company has been in touch with the city, but so far the city has not settled the matter.