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Niagara Falls Black Water

Andrew Cuomo ordered a probe into black wastewater found near Niagara Falls

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on state regulators to investigate black wastewater found near the base of Niagara Falls, raising the possibility of criminal action "because that situation could have been potentially serious."

Tourists visiting Niagara Falls State Park last weekend were dismayed after noticing the prevalence of "inky" and foul-smelling wastewater near the Falls base.

According to a statement provided by the Niagara Falls Water Board, the blackish water was the result of "routine" and "short" change in the wastewater treatment process. It further clarified that the water "contained some accumulated solids and carbon residue within permitted limits and did not include any organic type of oils or solvents."

But Cuomo cast doubt on the water board's claim after an event in Hudson.

"The original version of — 'Well, we did this and this was pursuant to a (Department of Environmental Conservation) permit' — I don't believe is true," Cuomo said. "They have a DEC permit to operate the facility, but it has to be operated in a proper way."

Despite complaints by tourists, the DEC affirmed that the discharge unlikely posed a threat to human health or the environment because the water coming over the falls would quickly oxygenate it.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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