Water temporarily restored to Falls residents

Of the 14 homes in Niagara Falls that have been struggling for a week without water, four now have the water running again, and the rest have temporary lines connected.

But besides fixing the problem, homeowners want answers and for someone to take responsibility.

Annette Melcher has never been so happy to do the dishes.

“It was not fun,” she said. “You don’t know what you miss when you don’t have it.”

Her’s is one of 14 households in a Niagara Falls neighborhood that has been dealing with no water for a week. And with the tap now running again, the mood at the Melcher residence is much happier than across the street at Antonette Venute’s house.

“Well I’m disgusted,” Venute said.

She was the first to lose her water last week and it’s still not on.

On top of that, she spent $1,200 out of her own pocket for a plumber who told her there was nothing he could do.

“He worked for two days. And he steam-blew the pipes. And he came in and told us, they got as far as the curb. They could go no further. It was now the city’s problem,” Venute said.

But, in fact, finding the source of the trouble has turned into a real problem.

The Niagara Falls Water Board wrote residents a letter telling them by law, the frozen pipes are the residents’ responsibility.

But Mayor Paul Dyster hired a plumber on a limited state of emergency to thaw the pipes before this week’s storm. And hopefully find the cause.

“We don’t know what it is, but we believe there is a systemic cause for this,” Dyster said.

But neighbors living up and down 72nd Street have a theory. About three years ago, the city re-surfaced the street. And neighbors believe the water lines were not properly insulated.

“I think the way they reconfigured it, caused the problem,” Wayne Edwards said.

“The city officials, they’re skirting the issue. But they know what’s wrong,” Venute said.

And at 87-years-old, living at her 72nd street home for 63 years without a problem like this, Antonette says it’s time to make it right.

Mayor Dyster is telling residents to hold onto their receipts if they spent money on their own plumber. He cannot guarantee they will be reimbursed, but they can make a claim to the city and the water board at a later date.

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