Niagara Falls mayor addresses frozen water pipe issue

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) —  Frustrations are boiling over in Niagara Falls as more and more homeowners have to deal with frozen pipes.

Over 200 properties are now on the Frozen Water Assistance Plan, which allows homeowners to keep their water constantly running.  That’s up from 60 in normal winter.  Property owners are charged only for their normal water usage, according to Niagara Falls Water Board Executive Director Paul Drof.

On 72nd Street residents have been struggling with frozen pipes for the second winter in a row.

Hoses from neighbors who have water are hooking up to homes where the tap runs dry.

Area resident Ken Walaszek said he provided an elderly woman with four gallons of water yesterday.

“She’s ready to cry,” he said.

Many neighbors believe the problems were caused when the city dug up the street several years ago. Neighbors say the material used to around the pipes did not provide adequate insulation.

Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster says nothing can be done to diagnose the problem until there is a thaw.

“We’re willing to lead the charge in terms of fixing whatever this problem is, once we’re able to determine what’s happening,” he said. “This time I think we’re going to have to dig some holes and see what’s actually happening under the ground. That can’t be done when it’s zero degrees.”

The Water Board believes the city must work for a solution, since the street work was a city project.

Drof said, “We would be most interested in finding out what the results are.”

Dyster says he is aware of homeowners’ frustrations. But he said previous studies conducted on 72nd Street could not pinpoint the problem.

Area resident Vince Mameli said the city and the Water Board should have improved the water lines when the other improvements were made under the street. He believes the city should be held accountable. “With all the money that they use from casino (funds),” he said, they should have done something like that for the infrastructure, but they took the cheap way out.”

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