LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) – About 190 Lockport residents have been asked to use bottled water for drinking, cooking, washing dishes, and brushing teeth until further notice, or bring their own containers to the fire department to pick up safe drinking water, after a backflow event may have sent a hydroseeding product into the water lines.
The advisory affects residents near Anna Merritt Elementary School and North Park Junior High.
Lockport’s water distribution maintenance supervisor, Dale Lawson, tells News 4 a Lancaster-based company, Northeast Paving, had been using a city fire hydrant for hydroseeding on the elementary school lawn when the backflow occurred. Lawson says that company did not have a current permit to use the hydrant and the city could now likely fine or sue the company, although the final decision is in the hands of the city’s leaders and its lawyers. When asked about potential repercussions for the company involved, Mayor Anne McCaffrey said, “We are going to have to check into that. Certainly, anybody who is connecting up to the city water supply, we need to know about that for reasons like this.”
City leaders say when they were informed of the situation, crews immediately flushed the system. Lawson says there were no chemicals in the product involved in the backflow, only grass seed and a paper pulp.
He adds that the flushing operation was highly effective at immediately removing the product from the system so the risk of contamination to the drinking water is very small. The “do not drink” advisory was issued just to be safe while the city waits for results of a water quality test. Those results are expected to come back in Wednesday.
In the meantime, residents in the affected area can bring their own containers to the fire station at the municipal building to get safe drinking water. Firefighters will be standing by to fill those containers until 11 p.m. Tuesday.