Niagara Falls tourists react to sewage overflow in Niagara River

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y (WIVB) — From the Observation Deck at Niagara Falls State Park, you could see a large area of black discharge surrounding the Maid of the Mist on Monday. On Tuesday the black discharge was gone but now that this has happened at least 5 times, some are wondering if it will happen again.

Monday’s incident was caused by the heavy rain. Niagara Falls is just one several places in Western New York where an overflow happened because of the weather.

According to the DEC tens of millions of gallons of untreated rain and sewage passed into the river from the Niagara Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant over the course of 15 hours.

Officials with the Niagara Falls Water Board say the 40-year-old plant is under capacity and depends on a water filtering system that is outdated.

The Water Board says it can’t afford the expensive improvements, and now it’s calling for state and federal money to improve infrastructure at the Waste Water Treatment facility so this kind of overflow doesn’t happen again.

Here’s what some tourists have to say about the black discharge,”To come here and to expect to see such a glorious natural environment and such a wonder of the natural world, and to see waste in the water like that it’s just saddening, it’s really saddening,” said tourist Jon Edwards.

“It’s pretty gross how do they not take care of that I mean they should clean that up it’s not a thing that you want to see, not that you pay money to see anyway,” said tourist Patty Caudill.

The DEC is monitoring the Niagara Falls Waste Water Plant. The discharge violates water quality standards and it could lead to fines of up to $37,000 a day.

More rain is in the forecast tomorrow so News 4 will be keeping a close eye on whether it causes more problems in Niagara Falls. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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