Niagara River. August 25, 2017 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

New York State investing millions to fix water infrastructure in Niagara Falls

$27 million in total funding for repairs

December 05, 2018 - 11:38 am

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WBEN) - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced millions of dollars of investment to upgrade the Niagara Falls wastewater treatment plant.

The state will invest $13.5 million, a sum that will be matched by the Niagara Falls Water Board, bringing the total investment to $27 million. This funding will immediately address water quality impairments caused by the aging wastewater treatment plant. New York is directing the Niagara Falls Water Board to immediately undertake the projects as part of the consent order with the state DEC.

Projects to upgrade the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant include:

  •  Improving primary treatment systems and equipment;
  •  Making improvements to the sedimentation basin and related equipment;
  •  Rehabilitating the Gorge Pumping Station;
  •  Replacing screens and equipment to remove grit;
  •  Upgrading the dewatering system;
  •  Replacing the granular activated carbon system and filter support equipment;
  •  Completing critical repairs and improvements to the electrical, lighting, and heating and ventilation systems;
  •  Optimizing disinfectant dosage; and
  •  Replacing blower equipment and piping.  

Long-term options are still being sought by the DEC and Niagara Falls Water Board.

"Niagara Falls is a national and natural treasure and thanks to the Governor's leadership, today's investment to upgrade the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment plant is a major step forward to protect this irreplaceable resource," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. "DEC will continue to oversee the Niagara Falls Water Board's efforts to advance these projects as directed and improve the quality and reliability of its wastewater treatment plant and collection system, as we work across the state to ensure municipalities have the resources to improve aging water infrastructure through the historic $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act and $300 million annual Environmental Protection Fund."             

The Niagara Falls Water Board was criticized over its handling of the wastewater discharge into the lower Niagara River in July 2017. The discharge was caused by the wastewater treatment plant's excessive accumulations of solids and sludge, failure to follow proper maintenance procedures, and a lack of operator training.

New York State began its oversight of the Niagara Falls Water Board last September and were tasked with various projects for improvements including repairs to sludge processing equipment, retention of an outside contractor to process sludge, an improvement on sludge handling procedures, plus increased staff and training. The state said there have been no dark-colored discharges since last October. 

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