False tests covered up a number of water quality issues at plant
The former operator of the Northern Cambria, Pa., water treatment plant admitted in court last week that he falsified several years’ worth of water quality tests he submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Altoona Mirror reported.
Thomas Yeckley, 52, of Carrolltown, Pa., said in court that in 2008 and 2009 he took lab samples from the plant’s sink instead of a list of random homes served by the plant, marking the samples as having come from the customers’ homes. The falsified tests covered up a myriad of violations at the plant, which were later discovered in an investigation. The violations have since been corrected.
Yeckley will likely enter a plea agreement that will allow him to receive probation rather than jail time, but will never again be allowed to seek his operator’s license or work as a plant operator. Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Amy Carnicella said the attorney general’s office will recommend two years’ probation. Yeckley already has agreed to serve 40 hours community service and pay a $2,500 fine to the DEP’s Clean Water Fund.