NIAGARA FALLS – After nearly 500 gallons of waste oil was found dumped into Cayuga Creek last week, the state Department of Environmental Conservation launched a criminal investigation.
On Monday, it was learned that even more oil could have been released into the creek.
City Administrator Nick Melson said an additional 50 to 60 gallons of oil was found in a 70-inch storm sewer pipe along Niagara Falls Boulevard, before it reached the creek.
Mayor Paul A. Dyster told the City Council on Monday that some remnants of the oil remained as a sheen on top of the water Monday morning, even after the cleanup.
“That’s inevitable in these circumstances. Some residents may see a sheen on the water, but by and large, we dodged a bullet,” Dyster said.
The oil was noticed July 18 by a kayaker in the creek along Niagara Falls Boulevard, near Tuscarora Road, and inside the pipe.
“A vacuum truck was able to pick (the oil) up very close to where it was discharged,” Dyster said.
But with overnight rains, the mayor said, there was some oil sheen left on the pipe, and Monday morning some of it got past the barrier that remains in place.
Dyster said DEC officials said that there should be no long-term impact to the creek as a result of this discharge.
“But it’s a reminder how we have to be vigilant with regards to protection of our freshwater resources,” Dyster said.
“We make our living off of the natural resource of Niagara Falls, and we have to preserve and protect it.”
Melson noted that the city will not be responsible for any of the cleanup costs.