DEP Fines Water-Testing Company For Numerous Violations
The Department of Environmental Protection has stripped a Pittsburgh-based water-testing company of its accreditation after the agency found 50 violations at its Baltimore lab. The company has also agreed to pay a $60,000 fine.
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Microbac Laboratories Inc. had poor quality control at its lab in Baltimore, where it mismanaged how long it held samples and how it double-checked the work of low-level staff, the DEP said. The lab served clients across Pennsylvania testing drinking water, non-drinking water, soils and chemicals, department spokeswoman Lisa Kasianowitz said.
Kasianowitz said she did not know whether there was any risk to the public from problems with drinking water tests. She did not know whose drinking water was tested by the lab and said the company was conducting an audit to determine which tests were affected.
Officials at Pennsylvania American Water and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority — two of the largest drinking water suppliers in the Pittsburgh area — said they don’t use Microbac.
“Microbac has worked closely with the Pennsylvania DEP to resolve this matter and has taken immediate steps to correct any concerns,” the company said in a three-paragraph written statement. Spokesman Bill Rogers declined to provide details.
The Ross-based company is widely used by the government, private industry, academics and citizens, and the problems DEP described are important, said Myron Arnowitt, Pennsylvania director at Clean Water Action.