Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 26, 2013

Falls plant progressing

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant is back on track after equipment was damaged in a severe storm last week.

City officials announced Friday that five temporary bypass pumps are up and running, meaning that the water authority can now treat up to 30 million gallons of wastewater each day.

Nearly all of the 25 million to 30 million gallons of wastewater that the Niagara Falls Water Board treats every day was flowing into the Niagara River after the storm but that amount has been reduced daily as water board crews and outside contractors have brought equipment back online and installed the temporary pumps, Paul Drof, the water board's executive director, said.

"We should be able to handle our average dry weather flow," Drof said in a phone interview Friday afternoon.

Work crews were waiting for parts to arrive Friday that will enable them to repair one of the four main pumps at the water board's Buffalo Avenue facility.

Drof said the parts were expected to arrive Friday afternoon and crews should be able to install the motor and drive in about eight hours time.

"We hope to get (the pump) going as soon as reasonably possible," Drof said.

The repairs to the water board equipment are estimated to be at least $2 million. State and federal officials toured the plant earlier this week to assess the damage. It remains unclear who will pay for repairs, though it is likely that the water board will be given financial assistance from either the state or the federal government.

Drof said his employees and workers from the contracting companies - Ferguson Electric, O'Connell Electric, Volland Electric, J. W. Danforth Co. and National Vacuum Corp. - have been working without rest to restore the equipment to working order.

"Our own employees along with our outside contractors have been working as much as humanly possible," Drof said. "They restored service in a remarkable amount of time."

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