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Strange purple substance falls from the sky and coats Cheektowaga home

Homeowners wonder if it is an accidental toilet discharge from an airplane
Posted at 6:01 PM, Oct 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-08 19:57:22-04

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WKBW-TV) — Lynn Page and Mike Hulpiau woke up to find that a strange, purple substance had fallen from the sky and splattered all over their Schuster Avenue home, deck, driveway, and vehicle.

"I don't know where it came from or what it was exactly. It is a mess. It is all over the floor and all over the place," said Mike Hulpiau.

The Cheektowaga couple called 7 Eyewitness News for advice because they worried that it might be an accidental toilet discharge from an airplane . . . which often fly over the couple's house on way to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport about a mile away.

"Maybe some kind of valve was left open and they didn't know about it," added Hulpiau.

With purple splotches and residue everywhere, the couple worried about their health safety.

"I don't have good health. So, it does worry me. It is scary. That is why we called you," said Lynn Page.

"It could be toxic. It could be full of COVID or anything else," commented Hulpiau.

Reporter Ed Reilly sent pictures to the NFTA, the Erie County Department of Health, and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

NFTA spokesperson Helen Tederous said the airport gets several calls about suspected discharges from planes falling on homes. Tederous said planes are prohibited from dumping toilet waste while flying. Usually, the problem is caused by flocks of birds that have eaten certain berries containing a high concentration of pigment, explained Tederous.

The Erie County Department of Health agreed and felt the purple droppings were safe to clean using normal safety protocols.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) sent the following explanation:

"Based on the pictures and description that you provided, DEC's Division of Wildlife suggests that the purple droplets observed are likely caused by the droppings of large flocks of starlings that migrate at this time of year. The purple hue is due to the wild grapes and buckthorn berries that these birds feed on."