BOSTON - The Superintendent of the Avon Water Department was charged late yesterday in an Information with making false representations in federally required reports, regarding the disinfectant levels in the water at two water treatment facilities.
John Tetreault, 55, has agreed to plead guilty to two counts of knowingly and willfully submitting to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection federally required reports that included materially false representations. On four different dates in 2010, Tetreault reported that residual disinfectant levels at two water treatment facilities in Avon, met or exceeded minimum required disinfectant levels, when, in fact, the residual disinfectant levels for each of the dates was below the required level for more than four hours at each of the facilities.
According to the Information, on Oct. 10, 11, and 12, 2010, at the Memorial water treatment facility, and on May 27, 2010, at the Porter water treatment facility, residual chlorine levels at the facilities fell below the minimum required level of .75 mg/L , for more than four hours. In fact, according to the Information, the residual chlorine level for those days was below that level for more than four hours. In the required monthly reports, Tetreault reported that residual chlorine levels at the facilities met or exceeded the minimum levels.
Under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established, through federal regulations, the drinking water standards, reporting requirements, record keeping requirements and enforcement provisions for states and municipalities for different types of drinking water sources and drinking water treatment facilities. In 2010, the type of treatment facilities and systems maintained by the Town of Avon (groundwater) required the facilities to maintain the state-determined residual disinfectant concentration (chlorine) every day that groundwater was served to the public. If a treatment system, such as Avon’s, failed to maintain the requisite chlorine treatment level, it would be in violation of the treatment technique requirement if the failure was not corrected within four hours.
Under the federal regulations the Avon Water Department was also required to file routine monthly reports with the Massachusetts DEP that tracked daily residual disinfectant concentrations and that reported any incidents when the concentrations fell below the state-determined level of .75 mg/L of chlorine. In addition to filing routine monthly reports with the DEP, a system such as Avon’s must also promptly notify the state any time the system fails to meet the minimum residual disinfectant concentration and that concentration.
A plea hearing date has yet to be scheduled. Tetreault faces six months of probation and a $15,000 fine.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Michael Hubbard, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region I’s Criminal Investigation Division, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Anton P. Giedt of Ortiz’s Civil Division.
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