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Water main break impacts Niagara Falls hospital

Posted at 10:50 PM, Dec 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-20 18:21:04-05
Day five and counting, that's how long many patients at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center have been unable to shower or flush their toilets due to a water main break.
 
According to a hospital spokesperson, as soon as the hospital was made aware of the break on 47th Street in the Falls, a contingency plan went into effect.
 
Water pressure then decreased to a point where toilets on the facility's second floor and above were unable to flush toilets.
 
We're told staff members have since purchased buckets that have been placed in patient rooms. Volunteers and staff fill the buckets with water and use it to manually flush the toilets. 
 
Patients are using disposable plates, cups etc, instead of the typical dinnerware.

Despite the inconvenience, Medical Center President and CEO, Joe Ruffolo said the issue isn't impacting patient care. Hospital staff though are growing frustrated with the situation. "Patience are starting to get...not patients in the beds...but our patience is starting to get thinner and thinner with carrying water buckets to various floors," he said. The hospital hired its own contractors to come up with a temporary solution. *UPDATE: Late Wednesday we learned much of the water pressure had been restored to impacted areas. However, there are still patients who have to manually flush the toilets. 

This is the same water main break that forced Niagara Falls High School to close on Monday and Tuesday, they're expected to re-open on Wednesday.

We wanted to know why crews haven't yet started repair work. 

Reporter Ali Touhey: Could you have avoided having to put this out to bid? Why is this taking so long? 

Niagara Falls Water Board official Bob Drury: Absolutely not. There was no way of avoiding it. In the future, we will have contractors on call immediately so that we have them in place and this bid process doesn't have to take place but with what we have now, it was expedited as fast as possible.

Drury couldn't say when he expects the water main to be fixed. It is estimated to cost $200,000, and will be paid for by those in Niagara Falls who use that water service.