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Archive for Thursday, October 17, 2002

Water-testing lab owner sentenced

October 17, 2002

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— The former owner of a water-testing laboratory was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison in connection with the falsification of lab results from water and wastewater samples.

Terian Koester, who had owned and run Quality Water Analysis Laboratories Inc. of Pittsburg, also will be placed on two years' supervision after his release from prison. He also was fined $2,000. The lab had done testing for the city of Lawrence.

The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Thomas George Van Bebber.

Authorities shut down the lab in September 2001 after an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency alleged the lab had falsified over a five-year period records used to determine the safety of drinking water and wastewater dumped back into Kansas streams and rivers.

The EPA sent letters to nearly 900 clients of the lab, urging them to have their samples retested.

City of Lawrence officials said the city had some testing done by the lab, but that they had been assured by federal and state authorities that those specific kinds of tests were not the kind that were falsified.

Koester pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement under the federal Clean Water Act by falsifying analytical results of wastewater, and he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud.

Matthew Sheffield, a former lab analyst at the laboratory, said Koester promised a quicker turnaround time on test results than competing labs.

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