News Briefs: Private Wastewater Operator Pleads Guilty to 14 Counts of Data Falsification

Also in this week's water and wastewater news, a Wisconsin manufacturer finds PFCs in its well samples; and NSF International publishes new standards for household drinking water filters

News Briefs: Private Wastewater Operator Pleads Guilty to 14 Counts of Data Falsification

The president of a Fitchburg, Massachusetts, wastewater treatment company pleaded guilty to falsifying wastewater samples and test results and was sentenced to three years' probation, 50 hours of community service, fined $19,500 and will have his operator’s license suspended for four months.

The man, Kent Oldfield of New SRA Inc. and New England Engineering Group LLC, pleaded guilty to six counts of knowingly tampering with wastewater test methods and 14 counts of knowingly making false reports to the Department of Environmental Protection. He was treating wastewater for condo complexes.

“The state expects certified operators like the defendant to truthfully report that their wastewater discharge is safe,” says Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “Falsifying wastewater samples and test results puts the health of our residents and our water quality at risk.”

After being ordered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to test its facility for perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), Tyco Fire Products in Marinette, Wisconsin, found evidence of the chemicals near Lake Michigan.

The PFCs were found in well samples at Tyco’s manufacturing plant, which creates firefighting foam. The chemicals have been found to be carcinogenic and may cause development problems in fetuses.

In two recent months, elevated levels had appeared in Marinette’s wastewater treatment system, spurring the EPA’s order to test the manufacturing plant.

NSF International has published a new American National Standard for drinking water filters designed to reduce potentially harmful microorganisms from municipal drinking water systems during the critical period between a water-supply contamination and a boil-water advisory.

The new standard is called NSF/ANSI 244: Supplemental Microbiological Water Treatment Systems – Filtration and it establishes minimum requirements for mechanical water filtration devices that reduce bacteria, viruses and protozoan cysts in both point-of-entry filters and point-of-use filters.

“NSF/ANSI 244 establishes the minimum requirements and performance characteristics for products that claim to reduce the type of potentially harmful microorganisms that can get into the water supply if there is some kind of unexpected microbiological contamination event,” says Jessica Evans, director of standards development at NSF International. “Consumers, especially those with compromised immune systems, can be confident that products certified to the standard will provide protection if there is some kind of event with the public water system.”


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