New Castle News

TOP STORIES

May 2, 2014

Water lab fined for faulty bacteria testing

NEW CASTLE — The state has fined Microbac Laboratories, Erie Division, $220,000 for various violations.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection announced the fine Wednesday. A consent order and agreement require the lab to pay the fine and take actions to correct the violations that occurred last year.

No health problems were reported in Lawrence County as a result of the violations.

During an on-site assessment in June, the DEP discovered the Erie facility had failed to meet several standards. The lab was found to be conducting improper sample analysis and reporting. It was accredited under DEP’s National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program to test and analyze drinking water, non-potable water and a variety of soils, chemicals and liquids.

Eric Shirk of the DEP said there were no incidents of large numbers of people getting sick as a result of the lab’s violations. All “public water supplies” that used the lab were notified last year of the violations and advised to have another water sample tested “to ensure no public health impact.”

Public water supplies can include restaurants, hotels, churches and other public establishments. Shirk said they are required to have their water tested whether their source is a private well or public water system.

The DEP found that improper analysis may have led to false-negative bacteriological results for drinking water samples at the Erie lab. The DEP also found several instances where the lab failed to properly report positive bacteriological results in drinking water. As a result of the DEP’s findings, in August the Erie lab voluntarily relinquished its accreditations for drinking water bacteriological parameters.

The two public water systems providing water to Lawrence County do not use the Erie lab and were not affected.

Gary Lobaugh, external affairs manager for Pennsylvania American Water, said his company “has no involvement with them whatsoever.”

He said the company has its own lab and, when necessary, uses another “nationally accredited lab.”

Pennsylvania American Water provides water to customers in New Castle, Wampum, West Pittsburgh, Edinburg and Ellwood City.

Donna Alston, manager of communications at Aqua Pennsylvania, said that company also does most of its testing in-house and does not use the Erie lab. Aqua Pennsylvania provides water to parts of New Wilmington Borough, Wilmington Township and Pulaski Township.

According to the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Act, an environmental laboratory must be accredited by the DEP in order to generate data or perform analyses to be used to comply with an environmental statute. Microbac operates other environmental divisional laboratories that the DEP accredits that are not subject to the DEP’s action against Microbac Laboratories, Erie Division.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
TOP STORIES
  • accountant.jpg DeLorenzo’s status with authority unchanged

    Deno DeLorenzo’s status as a contract employee with the New Castle Sanitation Authority remains unchanged. Authority board members met with DeLorenzo last week regarding an investigation by the Lawrence County district attorney’s office involving Shenango Township funds.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Shooting.jpg Detroit area man dies in Ellwood City gunfire

    A triple shooting in an Ellwood City street has claimed the life of a Detroit area man. Gunfire erupted in the middle of Loop Street outside the Walnut Ridge housing project around 10:20 p.m. Sunday, according to state police.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Baptism1.jpg Dipped downtown

    John the Baptist identified himself as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’ ” On Saturday, local evangelist Randy Crum once again took a cue from the son of Elizabeth and Zechariah, eschewing the locusts and honey that John was known to munch on but heading out into the wilds to baptize believers and challenge them to share their faith with their community.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • lamancusa.jpg Tanner, district attorney: No comment

    The Lawrence County District Attorney is keeping mum about a probe into finances in Shenango Township. “We don’t talk about ongoing investigations,” Lamancusa said Friday.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo 5 Stories

  • Shenango1.jpg Shenango Township: Supervisors fire Tanner, release DeLorenzo

    The Shenango supervisors fired township secretary/treasurer Brian Tanner and terminated auditor and consultant Deno DeLorenzo last night.

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos 4 Stories

  • gavel.jpg Shenango to take action on Tanner, DeLorenzo

    Shenango’s supervisors will act Thursday night on the employment contracts of two men being investigated for possible theft of township funds.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 4 Stories

  • money.jpg Shenango computers, financial papers seized

    Investigators have seized computers and a host of financial paperwork from the Shenango Township Municipal Building.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo 3 Stories

  • money.jpg Second warrant issued in Shenango Township finances probe

    The home office of Shenango Township’s secretary/treasurer is the subject of a search warrant. A warrant was approved allowing investigators from the Lawrence County district attorney’s office to search Brian Tanner’s home office at 658 Melody Lane Extension in Shenango and seize all computers and computer records.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo 2 Stories

  • Our Opinion: Who’s watching the money in Shenango Township?

    The Shenango Township supervisors have some explaining to do. And that’s putting it mildly.

    July 15, 2014 1 Story

  • Shenango places Tanner on leave, schedules meeting

    The Shenango Township supervisors have placed their secretary/treasurer on leave. In a statement faxed late Monday afternoon to the New Castle News, the supervisors said Brian Tanner had been placed on “administrative leave” as the result of a search warrant served on the township municipal building Friday.

    July 15, 2014

House Ads
Poll

Have you held or will you hold a garage/yard sale this year?

I have and it was a success! It's a great way to get rid of some junk and make a little extra pocket money.
I have, but it didn't go over so well. Better luck next time?
I haven't yet, but I plan to.
I haven't and I don't plan to. It's not for me.
     View Results