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Politics

Morinello welcomes Cuomo call for Niagara Falls black water probe

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A local state assemblyman is welcoming Governor Andrew Cuomo's call for an investigation into last weekend's discharge of wastewater near the base of Niagara Falls. That lawmaker is pointing his own finger directly at the Niagara Falls Water Board for an incident he says should never have happened.

Governor Cuomo on Tuesday called for an investigation and later stated he does not believe the Water Board's claim that the discharge, which was said to related to maintenance of a basin, was within acceptable water quality standards. Cuomo added there may be a criminal investigation given the potentially serious nature of the incident.

Assemblyman Angelo Morinello represents the City of Niagara Falls and sits on the tourism committee of his legislative house. He welcomed the governor's call and added that the state should look directly at the Water Board itself.

"I'm very dismayed at the recklessness of the Water Authority and the Water Board in allowing this to happen. This has never happened before," Morinello said. "There is a new majority on the Board and it just seems that their choices have created another, to use the term, black eye for Niagara Falls."

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster was out of town and unavailable for comment. His office explained they're not permitted to discuss Water Board personnel matters. 

WBFO's calls to the Water Board Tuesday were not returned.

The expulsion of wastewater Saturday created a foul-smelling pool of black water that surrounded the Maid of the Mist boat dock. The black water was dissipating by the following morning.

Morinello is upset by the widespread attention to the incident and the image of the black water in the heart of a popular tourist attraction.

"I received phone calls from as far as California because this made the national news," Morinello said. "This hit the news more than Mrs. Wallenda's hanging from a helicopter. That may have done a little good. This did a tremendous amount of bad for our reputation."

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