(Main picture taken July 29, 2017 by Rainbow Air INC.)

In the latest updates to the story of black water (waste water) in Niagara Falls last weekend, according to reports from the Buffalo News, it now appears that the Niagara Falls wastewater plant behind last week’s discharge into the Niagara River has been fined twice over the past decade for illegal levels of contaminants.

The Buffalo News also says the state Department of Environmental Conservation entered into consent order with the Niagara Falls Water Board in 2015, after a review found that the plant released higher-than-acceptable levels of mercury into the river over a 15-month period ending in October 2014.

That could have led to a fine of  $37,500 per day fine against the board but instead the two sides reached a binding consent order that included a $10,000 penalty and several operational changes to reduce the levels of mercury.

The plant illegally released millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Niagara River over many days in 2003 and 2004, according to a 2005 consent order The Buffalo News obtained.

During one two-day period in August 2003, the plant dumped 9.4 million gallons of “overflow” over 23.5 hours.  The board was fined $10,000, according to the consent order.

In response to last weekend’s event,  Niagara Falls MPP Wayne Gates has asked the province to investigate the “black water”, writing a letter to Environment Minister Chris Ballard asking him to make sure that no damage was done and that it won’t happen again.

Prior to that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had launched an investigation into the same matter saying the plant may have violated state water quality standards.

The water board for the city of Niagara Falls, New York, says last Saturday’s discharge was part of routine maintenance of one of its basins and that blackish water contained accumulated solids and carbon residue but no organic oils or solvents and was was within permitted limits.


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