Digging for answers in Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB)– Residents on 72nd Street in Niagara Falls describe this past winter the same way.

“It’s been hell without water. I gotta go out and buy water from the store to flush my toilet, to wash my face in the morning, no bath, no nothing,” said Donald Phillips.

He’s lived in the area for more than 40 years, and was one of dozens of residents who went days without water this winter due to frozen pipes.

Kathleen Becker and her husband live down the street; their pipes were frozen twice.

“It cost us a thousand dollars a piece to for them to come out. My husband asked them when they came back out the second time if they could give us a break and the guy goes no, Mother Nature did it,” she said.

But many residents believe the city, not Mother Nature, is really at fault.

Many have said the reason the pipes froze so easily is that they weren’t laid down deep enough into the ground.

The Water Board promised answers, and is in the process of digging up parts of 72nd Street and other areas of the Falls to find them.

“I’d like them to tear up the street and redo it, and insulate all the water lines crossing the street,” Phillips told News 4.

Residents are trying to stay upbeat; there’s dozens of signs up and down 72nd Street that read “House for sale, water seasonal.” Neighbors told News 4 it’s their way to expressing their lack of faith in the Water Board.

Thursday, the Water Board announced eight additional tests will be done around the Falls to find the root of the issue, and hopefully, prevent it from happening again.

Becker, along with her neighbors, said the crews will need to do more than dig to fix the problem.

“Monday when I was going out to do go work they had the black top out and they were sealing it up. Right then and there I knew they weren’t going to do anything,” she said.

And for residents who used the “Drip Program” between November and March, the city told News 4 their accounts will credited, but no rebate checks will be sent.

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