A Kansas man was indicted on a federal charge which accuses him of tampering with a public water system, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard, reported The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Wyatt A. Travnichek, a 22-year-old of Ellsworth County, Kansas, was charged with one count of tampering with a public water system and one count of reckless damage to a protected computer during unauthorized access.
“Our office is committed to maintaining and improving its partnership with the state of Kansas in the administration and implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974,” said Slinkard in The DOJ news release. “Drinking water that is considered safe is essential to the protection of the public’s health.”
The indictment alleges that around Mar. 27, 2019 in the District of Kansas, Travnichek accessed the Ellsworth County Rural Water District’s protected computer system without authorization and performed activities that shut down the processes at the facility. This impacted the facility’s cleaning and disinfecting procedures with the intention of harming the Ellsworth Rural Water District No. 1, the Post Rock Rural Water District, according to The DOJ.
Tampering with a public water system, according to DOJ, may mean up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Reckless damage to a protected computer during unauthorized access entails up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
The U.S. EPA, Kansas Bureau of Investigation and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation and Assistant U.S. Attorney Christine E. Kenney is prosecuting the case, added the DOJ.