August 22, 2019 | 89° F

Utilities operator accused of falsifying water quality reports

The New Brunswick Water Utility came under fire in November when it was discovered that licensed operator, Edward O’Rourke, had submitted false reports for various water quality tests, submitted incorrectly calculated test results and failed to notify the public when standards were not met between 2010 and 2013.

In a statement from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, O’Rourke was suspended without pay pending an investigation, and he was fined $17,000. He had asked for an administrative hearing and was waiting for a date to be set.

Russell Marchetta, spokesman for the City of New Brunswick, said despite the falsification of records, there were no reports of health issues or calls about the quality of the water.

“We want people to know the water is safe to drink in New Brunswick and at Rutgers,” he said. “It doesn’t look like anyone was put at a health risk.”

The NJDEP release stated while public health was not impacted, the violations had potential to expose the public to disease causing microorganisms.

After two-failed turbidity tests in March and June 2013, the false records were discovered and the water department took steps to correct the problems and ensure the water was safe for drinking, Marchetta said.

The city’s water department has implemented new measures to prevent an issue like this from happening in the future, he said.

By Shawn Smith

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