News Briefs: Former Operator Sentenced for Falsifying Data

In this week's water and wastewater news, a former New Jersey operator receives prison time, Flint starts planning service-line replacement and an EPA report says wastewater infrastructure investment is needed.
News Briefs: Former Operator Sentenced for Falsifying Data

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Edward O’Rourke, 60, was sentenced to three years in a state prison for submitting false water purity information to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. O’Rourke was a licensed operator for the New Brunswick and Milltown water systems.

According to a report on, O’Rourke pled guilty in December 2015 to second-degree corruption of public resources and violations of the Safe Water Drinking Act. He will serve three years for each charge, with the sentences running concurrently, which was part of his plea bargain. He must also surrender any DEP licenses and is barred from further employment.

A statement from the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office said that although the investigation “did not reveal any evidence that water distributed to the public ever contained coliform bacteria, O’Rourke’s failure to correctly test and accurately report water purity information to the DEP undermined regulators’ ability to oversee the monitoring of drinking water pumped to the public during the relevant 33-month period.”

O’Rourke, who was also the manager of the New Brunswick laboratory, submitted more than 200 samples that contained falsified data.


Flint Begins Lead Pipe Replacement Plan

The Lansing (Michigan) Board of Water & Lights has estimated it will take 32 full-time crews about a year to replace Flint’s 15,000 lead water service lines. Lansing, which has already replaced 13,500 of its own lead services lines, is working in an advisory role to assist Flint with the replacements.

“BWL is stepping up and helping the mayor of Flint and the people of Flint with their expertise in removing lead pipes,” said Lansing spokesman Randy Hannan in The Detroit News.

The advisory role could include Lansing technicians training Flint workers on how to properly remove lead services lines.

Source: The Detroit News

$80 Billion Needed For Great Lakes Wastewater Infrastructure

According to a new Environmental Protection Agency report, more than $80 billion will be needed over the next 20 years to prevent sewage overflows and protect drinking water in eight Great Lakes states.

“This report underscores the urgent need to help local communities fix sewers so that every person in this country has access to safe, clean water,” says Todd Ambs, campaign director for Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition. “Up-to-date wastewater infrastructure is critical for the health of the Great Lakes and communities around the region. This report shows how much work we have left to do.”

In response to the report, The Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition is urging President Obama and Congress to fully fund the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

To read the full report, click here.

Source: Healing Our Waters – Great Lakes Coalition press release


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