Boston - The former Superintendent of the Avon Water Department was sentenced to one year probation on charges that he made false representations in federally-required reports, regarding the disinfectant levels in the water at two water treatment facilities.
In addition to the probation sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock ordered John Tetreault, 55, to pay a $15,000 fine. Tetreault must also issue letters of apology to the Town of Avon and pay to publish it in the Boston Globe, as well as in publications of the Massachusetts Waterworks Association and New England Waterworks Association. On July 10, 2012, Tetreault 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.
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, 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.
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.