Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 24, 2013

Outside help assisting Falls with wastewater plant repairs, tree removal

Outside help assists city with wastewater repairs, tree removal

Niagara Gazette — Niagara Falls is getting a little outside help in dealing with the damage done by Friday’s and Saturday’s series of fierce storms that swept through the area.

Millions of gallons of untreated sewage continue to flow into the Niagara River every day as Niagara Falls Water Board staff scrambles to install temporary bypass pumps at the main processing station. A crew from Pittsburgh has been brought in to help with the repairs.

In addition, Mayor Paul Dyster has issued an emergency order that will allow the city to hire an outside contractor to help the Department of Public Works with tree removal.

Dyster ordered Dave Kinney, the director of the DPW to “immediately engage the assistance of an outside contractor(s)” to take down any trees that were “disturbed” during the storm and Kinney views as “a threat to public health and safety,” according to the emergency order signed by Dyster and Corporation Counsel Craig Johnson on Monday afternoon.

As reported Sunday, the Niagara Falls wastewater treatment plant flooded after Dyster said a “water surge” overwhelmed the facility’s pumps.

“The pumps couldn’t fight the pressure and the facility flooded,” he said. “The pumps went completely underwater. As of (Saturday afternoon), there are pumps in place draining the plant. There are spots where you can see the water level decreasing. The facility was under 30 feet of water and it needed to be pumped out.”

Paul Drof, the water board’s director, said that crews have been working around the clock since severe storms knocked out filtering equipment Friday night in an effort to restore water treatment services for the city.

Drof said that service has been fully restored at the gorge pump station as of Monday afternoon, but crews continue to work on installing temporary bypass pumps at the main facility on Buffalo Avenue.

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