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State money could ease water problems in Niagara Falls

Eileen Buckley

The Niagara Falls Water Board would like some of the $200 million in the new state budget for grants to aging water systems across New York.

Water Board Executive Director Paul Drof tells WBFO News his system would be glad to add millions in addition to the millions being used to renovate the Cataract City system, $40 million over five years with some repairs deferred because there isn't enough cash.

Drof noted the winter is so bad frozen soil has led to 56-waterline breaks since January.
"The movement of the ground...is a major contributor to the breaking of the pipes because they can only bend so long as their tensible strength is limited," Drof said.

"It's just been exacerbated by this last two winters being more severe. We had frost going down last winter to a depth of 3 1/2 feet. This winter we are seeing frost going to four foot and below."

Right now, Drof said the Water Board has 60 percent of its water leaking away because there are so many problems in pipes as old as 80 years.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.