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AUGUST 25 - SEP 01, 2015

Reporter Knew Cause of 72nd St. Problem 19 Months Ago, Dyster Finally Catches On

By Mike Hudson

August 25, 2015

You can't say 72nd Street residents don't have a sense of humor. After suffering through a second winter with frozen pipes and no running water, many offered their homes for sale. "Water Seasonal," the signs read.


He finally get around to it.

Somewhere, in the dark recesses of City Hall, Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster must’ve stumbled across a copy of the Feb. 12, 2014, Niagara Falls Reporter.

Reporter Publisher Frank Parlato penned an article in that week’s edition about the frozen water main on 72ndStreet in LaSalle that left 186 households without running water. The article clearly stated that the freezing was due to the fact that a 2010 road rebuilding project that left the water main barely 18 inches beneath the pavement had left the pipe vulnerable to freezing.

Parlato pointed out that the so called “freeze line” is between 48” and 52” beneath the surface, and that the city’s building code calls for pipe to be laid at least six inches below the freeze line.

Dyster apparently didn’t read Parlato’s story, which was written less than 10 days after the initial 72nd Street freeze.

“There were about six theories about what may have happened and it would be premature to discuss the possibilities," Dyster told the Buffalo News at the time. The Mayor said the city would conduct an investigation to see what caused this cluster of homes to be more susceptible to low temperatures.

Dyster echoed his sentiments in an interview with Time Warner News.

"Having water lines freeze during a cold winter is not at all an unusual situation," he said on Feb, 11, 2014.

The very next day, the Reporter – and Parlato‘s article – hit the streets. In it, Anthony Mallone, the project engineer for Accadia Site Contracting, the company that did the 72nd St reconstruction, was quoted.

"You need to redo the water line, re-cut the road… Install a new water line, excavate it down to a depth…. below the freeze line," he said.

Dyster commissioned a study of the problem with his favorite engineering firm, Clark Patterson Lee, of Buffalo. The report was hand delivered to the mayor’s office on April 9, 2014, while some residents were still without running water.

The report was unequivocal.

"We discovered that the frozen services on 72nd Street were located in areas where the water facilities are above normal recommended installation depths within recently reconstructed areas,” it stated.

Dyster chose not to share the report with the water board, the city Council or the general public.

He continued to insist that the freezing problem had nothing to do with the road reconstruction project.

"What the consultant engineers came back and told us was that there was no single factor that you can say was responsible for the frozen water services aside from the fact that we had an extended period of record cold," Dyster told WKBW News in January of this year, a full nine months after he received the report, and almost a year after Parlato correctly diagnosed the problem in the pages of this newspaper.

Speaking about the report to WGRZ News that same week, Dyster continued to lie.

“There was no single cause that was found where you could say... ‘'s something that was done wrong.’ Dyster said. “What the consultant engineers came back and told us was that there was no single factor that you can say was responsible for the frozen water services aside from the fact that we had an extended period of record cold."

A month later, the pipes froze again and the report was obtained via a journalist’s Freedom of Information Law request. Dyster was exposed as the liar he is, but it didn’t seem to phase him.

As recently as last month, he told the Niagara Gazette that officials still didn’t know what the problem was, that the city probably didn’t have the money to fix it whatever it was and that there was a good chance that nothing would be done before the coming winter.

All that changed suddenly with last week’s hastily called press conference.  

Dyster said the city will be applying for a grant from the state Environmental Facilities Corp. in hopes of being reimbursed for the cost of the 72nd Street project, which will begin as soon as possible and aims to install a new 8-inch main 5½ feet underground. The current 8-inch pipe is just too doggone close to the surface in some locations, Dyster said.

We hate to say it but we told you so, Mr. Mayor.

Still, we’re glad on behalf of the residents of 72hd Street that you finally got around to reading that 19-month-old edition of our newspaper.






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Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina