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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

West Virginia Laboratory Manager Admits to Lying About Testing Public Water

Investigators discovered that Miller did not test the samples because her laboratory equipment was not operational.

The co-owner and manager of Reliance Laboratories, Inc., in Bridgeport, West Virginia, has admitted to violating the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act.

According to court documents, Tenley Megan Miller, 42, of Bridgeport, was the owner of Reliance Laboratories, Inc., a company that purportedly tested public drinking water samples submitted to it pursuant to the Safe Drinking Water Act.  In May 2021, the City of Martinsburg sent water samples to Miller’s laboratory for testing and Miller reported that she tested the samples and found them to be safe. Investigators then discovered that Miller did not test the samples because her laboratory equipment was not operational.  The City of Martinsburg unwittingly reported the false test results to the State of West Virginia pursuant to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations.

Miller pleaded guilty today to making a false representation in a matter within the jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency. She faces up to five years in prison and a fine of no more than $250,000.

“The defendant in this case knowingly submitted falsified water analysis results, jeopardizing the health and safety of the impacted communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Nic Evans of EPA’s Office of Inspector General. “Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General’s commitment to holding accountable those who attempt to undermine the laws designed to protect the safety of the public’s drinking water supply.”

“The defendant in this case had knowingly falsified vital analysis results jeopardizing drinking and wastewater operations.” Said Acting Special Agent in Charge Richard Conrad of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Mid Central Area Branch, Chicago, IL.  “The defendant will be held accountable for their actions because they placed several communities and businesses at risk.”

The Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General and the Environmental Protection Agency Criminal Investigations Department investigated.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. Warner is prosecuting the case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi presided.

Read more at the Justice Department

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