William J. McCarthy of Lawrence, Mass., pleaded guilty to 18 counts of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act. During the 1990s, McCarthy was the senior chemist at Lawrence's drinking water filtration plant, where he supervised water quality testing. The defendant admitted that he repeatedly fabricated drinking water quality results that he was required to perform.
The Lawrence filtration plant draws water from the Merrimack River and distributes it to more than 60,000 residents. The criminal investigation of McCarthy led to a comprehensive evaluation of the safety of the Lawrence drinking water system by state and federal regulators. That evaluation led to two administrative orders by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which required the city of Lawrence to upgrade its drinking water facilities and hire an outside consultant to oversee the operation of the plant.
If convicted, McCarthy faces up to five years imprisonment and/or a $250,000 fine on each count.
(Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)