Discharge turns water at base of Niagara Falls black

In this July 29, 2017 photo provided by Rainbow Air INC., black-colored wastewater treatment discharge is released into water below Niagara Falls, in Niagara Falls, N.Y. The water near the base of the falls that border the U.S. and Canada turned an alarming shade of black before tourists' eyes following a foul-smelling discharge from a nearby wastewater treatment plant. The water board for the city says Saturday's discharge was part of routine maintenance of one of its basins, that the discharge was within permitted limits and had dissipated by Sunday. (Patrick J. Proctor/Rainbow Air INC. via AP)

The water near the base of Niagara Falls turned an alarming shade of black before tourists' eyes following a foul-smelling discharge from a wastewater treatment plant

The water near the base of Niagara Falls turned an alarming shade of black before tourists' eyes following a foul-smelling discharge from a wastewater treatment plant.

The water board for the city of Niagara Falls, New York, said Saturday's discharge was part of routine maintenance of one of its basins.

Video taken from a helicopter showed black-colored water along the Niagara River's U.S. shoreline below the falls that border the country and Canada. The inky water enveloped the dock for the popular Maid of the Mist tour boats.

At first, it looked like a shadow to Pat Proctor, who spotted the expanding mass from a Rainbow Air Inc. helicopter around 4:15 p.m. Saturday. He soon realized that wasn't the case.

"The first thing that came to my mind was, 'Dear God, please don't be an oil leak,'" Proctor, a vice president for the company that flies tourists over the falls, said Monday. His video and photos of the peculiar sight have been widely shared online and through social media.

The Niagara Falls Water Board apologized for alarming residents and tourists.

"The blackish water contained some accumulated solids and carbon residue within permitted limits and did not include any organic type oils or solvents," the statement said. "The unfortunate odor would be limited to the normal sewer water discharge smell."

Executive Director Rolfe Porter did not immediately return telephone messages left by The Associated Press Monday.

Wastewater flows through carbon beds as part of a seven-step purification process, according to the water board's website. Eventually it is discharged into the river.

The Maid of the Mist tweeted video and an aerial photo of one of its tour boats packed with tourists and surrounded by murky water. It asked city and state officials, "Why the smelly black discharge into Niagara River on very busy tourist weekend?"

Proctor said the stain continued to grow through the afternoon.

"By 6:30 or 6:40 it looked like it was pitch black in the water," he said.

A Maid of the Mist spokesman said Monday that its operations were not impacted. The spokesman, Kevin Keenan, referred other questions to the city and state.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said it began investigating after receiving complaints about the discolored water and odors. The investigation was continuing Monday, the department said.

The discharge had dissipated by Sunday morning.

Related News

Greenland shark now oldest living animal with backbone

Aug 11, 2016

In the cold waters of the Arctic, a denizen of the deep lurked for centuries

UN to hold 2018 climate meeting in heavily polluted Katowice

Jun 1, 2017

The United Nations says that the Polish city of Katowice has been chose to host the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference

F1 Renault driver Magnussen expects to compete at Italian GP

Aug 30, 2016

Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen expects to compete at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix after medical checks showed no serious injury to his left ankle following a heavy crash at last weekend's Belgian GP

Peaple also read these

Greenland shark now oldest living animal with backbone

Aug 11, 2016

In the cold waters of the Arctic, a denizen of the deep lurked for centuries

UN to hold 2018 climate meeting in heavily polluted Katowice

Jun 1, 2017

The United Nations says that the Polish city of Katowice has been chose to host the 2018 UN Climate Change Conference

F1 Renault driver Magnussen expects to compete at Italian GP

Aug 30, 2016

Formula One driver Kevin Magnussen expects to compete at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix after medical checks showed no serious injury to his left ankle following a heavy crash at last weekend's Belgian GP

Featured

About Us

In-Depth Science delivers comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything science and technology, seven days a week in a reader-friendly format.

Contact us: sales@indepthscience.com