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AUGUST 18 - AUGUST 25, 2015

Sewer Plant Stink Nothing New Here; Stench of “Flop Sweat” at City Hall Reeks

By Mike Hudson

August 18, 2015

From somewhere on this property arises a smell that overpowers a fair percentage of the city. The smell is not new, But Mayor Paul Dyster's interest in it is new.


“The last thing we need is a skunk popping up in the middle of our parade, but that’s what we’ve got,” Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster said last week.

At first we thought he was referring to himself, and the stink that is emanating from Rainbow Boulevard at the site of do-nothing Buffalo developer Mark Hamister’s hotel project.

But no. What the mayor was actually talking about was the sickening stench that emanates from the city’s Buffalo Avenue wastewater treatment plant.

“The most recent series of complaints from residents and businesses is only the latest in a long series dating back over months and even years,” Dyster said in a prepared statement. “At first it was only an occasional annoyance, but we are experiencing increasingly more frequent and more intense odor problems.”

Dyster said, with $350 million of investment downtown “underway or in the pipeline,” the city cannot suffer from a deficiency in odor control.

First off, there is nowhere near $350 million of investment downtown. Dyster is counting the $35.7 million Hamister has been saying he will invest at some point in the future, along with the $150 million Wonderfalls project. Neither of those proposals has resulted in one thin dime of private money coming into the city thus far.

Where he gets the other $164.3 million is anyone’s guess, though perhaps he uses the same accountant as his friend Hamister.

For some reason, Dyster is acting as though the stink of the sewage is a problem that has recently cropped up. It’s strange.

“Now the situation has become critical, so I’m stepping in to make sure it gets addressed,” he said.

Back in June 2002, the Niagara Falls Reporter moved into the stately Niagara Business Center, located at 1625 Buffalo Ave. It had everything; Marble floors, Art Deco appointments and central air conditioning, which was great, because it stands about a quarter of a mile away from the wastewater treatment plant, located at 1200 Buffalo Ave.

Trying to work with the windows open during the summer months was always a nauseating experience.

But Dyster is running for his third term this fall and is facing an unexpectedly strong challenge in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary from Councilman Glenn A. Choolokian. He is desperately looking for problems to solve between now and then, if only to try and make people forget about his cricket field and his kayak launch and the Holiday Market and the Hard Rock Café concert series, which were all expensive initiatives on his part that ended up improving the city not one iota.

So now, with less than a month to go before the election, he is creating a 40 member task force to study the problem, which has existed throughout his two terms in office. He said that City Hall employees and those from USA Niagara Development will be on hand to assist the task force, which means their study won’t come cheap.

When he sat on the city Council in the early part of the century, Dyster spearheaded creation of the Water Board, an agency that operates independently of the main city government and operates the wastewater treatment plant, which discharges an average of 32.9 million gallons of treated sewage into the lower Niagara River each day.

Ted Janese, who heads up the Water Board, was not amused by Dyster’s antics.

“It’s unfortunate that the mayor is using election-year gimmicks in an attempt to distract residents from the real issues facing our city that are the actual cause of a lack of economic development and worsening quality of life for residents,” Janese said in a prepared statement.

Dyster said the task force will be made up a variety of city stakeholders, including representatives of tourism and hospitality industries, neighboring businesses and community institutions. The usual suspects, in other words.

Dyster’s desperation is becoming the topic of jokes throughout the city. The biggest stink in Niagara Falls this summer is actually emanating from City Hall, where the stench of what is known in show business as “flop sweat” is overpowering.


Mayor Paul Dyster will deploy 40 member team to sniff out the problem at the Water Board.






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