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May 11, 2012 | By | Posted in General News

DEP fines Scranton lab for water testing errors

Tests underestimated chemical levels
 
By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent
 
HARRISBURG — A laboratory in Lackawanna County is no longer qualified to perform water sampling functions for the state after failing to report accurate information to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

State officials say the laboratory was charged with failing to properly report the results of water samples tested for chlorine and bacteria levels.
 
The Scranton-based Northeastern Environmental Laboratory was hit with a $20,000 fine this week and voluntarily gave up the majority of its accreditations related to drinking water and wastewater management and testing.
 
“Anytime they do testing and the result comes back positive, they have to notify the DEP,” said Colleen Connolly, DEP spokeswoman.
 
Connolly said the DEP noticed results weren’t coming back properly last year, and began investigating the site. Some chemical levels, she said, were underestimated.
 
Multiple violations were confirmed in September 2011, including:
  • Failure to properly train staff;
  • Failure to oversee and supervise the testing of water samples;
  • Failure to maintain records;
  • Failure to adhere to proper collection, receipt and handling of samples.
A yet-to-be-indentified independent company will test the samples formerly collected by NEEL, Connolly said. 
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