Niagara Gazette

Local News

August 21, 2013

A flood of concerns for a group of Town of Niagara residents


Niagara Gazette —

But, according to section 24 of the state's executive law, which handles the local declarations, it's the county's chief executive who'd make the request for assistance from the state, not the town's supervisor.

"Whenever a local state of emergency has been declared pursuant to this section, the chief executive of the county in which the local state of emergency has been declared, or where a county is wholly contained within a city, the chief executive of the city, may request the governor to provide assistance under this chapter, provided that such chief executive determines that the disaster is beyond the capacity of local government to meet adequately and state assistance is necessary to supplement local efforts to save lives and to protect property, public health and safety, or to avert or lessen the threat of a disaster," the law states.

During Tuesday's meeting, many of the residents presented pictures taken from their basements as water rushed in, much of it taking place between 9 and 10 p.m. July 19.

Was the flooding the result of the heavy rains or did something else cause many of the town's problems that night? While local rain was devastating, the effectiveness of the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant, which services about 33 percent of the town – including the hard-hit Belden Center neighborhood – was a serious factor, according to elected officials. 

The plant failed during the storm's heaviest rainfall, sending more than 100 million gallons of relatively unprocessed wastewater into the Niagara River before it was restored to working order one week later.

Some in attendance, including State Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, attributed many of the flooding issues to the plant's shortfall.

But Belden Center's problems may have been even more involved than the failure of the plant. A pump, according to Water Department Superintendent Ed Adamczyk, stopped working during the storm, which kept water from moving through a system already in disrepair.

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