On July 29, tourists were understandably bummed when stinky black water—a combination of wastewater and sewage—was discharged right next to the Maid of the Mist and Rainbow Bridge docks at scenic Niagara Falls, the Buffalo News reports. Now, the state of New York is fining the Niagara Falls Water Board $50,000 for the incident that Gov. Andrew Cuomo says was "inexcusable" and has tarnished the landmark's reputation around the world. In addition to the fine, the Niagara Falls Water Board must get state approval for all future discharges and complete mandatory retraining of all employees, WGRZ reports.
"We can conclude the Niagara Falls Water Board is responsible for a number of operating deficiencies, which led to human errors and led to the black water discharge," says the executive deputy commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. The Niagara Falls Water Board had blamed old equipment and a miscommunication between employees at the sewage plant for the unsightly discharge, the AP reports. But state officials say it happened because protocol wasn't followed. "To say, 'This is an old plant,' is baloney. This was operator error," Cuomo says.