Neighbors Go Two Months Without Water in Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, NY - Nearly sixty homes in Niagara Falls still don't have running water, and some have been without it for two months.

2 On Your Side recently told you how some of the issues are related to city supply lines buried above the frost line.

Monday night, some of the affected neighbors let city leaders know just how upset they are.

Sylvia Francis has lived in her Independence Avenue home in Niagara Falls since 1979.

This is the first time she has had water issues. She has been flushing her toilet with a bucket for two months with water she's getting from the fire department.

"Go one day without water. See how it feels. You can't take a bath. You can't wash your hair," said Francis.

Mayor Paul Dyster says many of the homes without water right now don't have frozen lines and instead have internal problems with the pipes or issues with the meters.

"You still have about 60 homes without water. That's a basic need. How is that acceptable and isn't there something else that you guys can do for these people?" asked 2 On Your Side's Kelly Dudzik.

"Oh yes, we're making emergency deliveries of water for free to people that are without water," said Dyster.

Once the ground thaws, an independent contractor hired by the city will dig to assess the problem areas.

"In Binghamton, the city is spending its own money to send out private contractors to help people. Is that something that you would consider?" asked Dudzik.

"We did that last year on 72nd Street before we figured out what was going on when we thought there was a chance the whole main might freeze, and so at this point of the process, no, it's not something that we're considering. That doesn't mean that individuals who've made expenditures on their own cannot file claims with the city. I can't tell you those claims are going to be paid, but obviously, the city paid for some expenses last year," said Dyster.

Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti told Sylvia Francis she would meet with her Tuesday.

"I'm sorry that this woman is going through this, and I'm hoping that I can do something to help her tomorrow. It's, you know, the weather. I'm sorry. Everything is still frozen. We're going to do our best, and I hope I can help her with something tomorrow," said Grandinetti.

Cornell's New York State Water Resources Institute works to identify and develop resources to improve water management across the state. One of its post-doctorate research associates says municipalities need to be proactive instead of reactive.

"Cities should know where the pipes are, how old they are and how well they are functioning. And that's easy to say, that's not easy to do because it just takes a lot of these old, on paper drawings and have them computerized. So the cities have to spend a lot of time and effort in actually going in and sometimes digging, sometimes sampling, so that's a lot of effort and basically it doesn't come without money," said Sri Vedachalam.

Dyster told the city council the plan is to complete a map.

Sylvia is sending a list of neighbors who don't have water to the governor, our senators and the attorney general's office to see if they can help.

We heard back from State Senator Rob Ortt who told us he has offered to help the city in any way he can, but there are no state funds available right now to fix the problem. He's working with his staff to see if there are any other resources available.


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