Environmental Lab Pleads Guilty to Defrauding EPA

A CONNECTICUT laboratory has pleaded guilty to making false statements to the Environmental Protection Agency in analyzing sample material taken from Superfund toxic waste sites, the EPA said Friday. YWC Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SRK Holding Inc., was assessed a $500,000 fine in the first criminal conviction of an environmental laboratory resulting from a nationwide EPA crackdown on fraudulent testing practices among contractors for the agency.

EPA officials said York Laboratories Division, a part of YWC Inc., was a participant in the agency's Contract Laboratory Program, under which private laboratories receive federal contracts to identify contaminants in waste samples.

Proper identification of pollutants is essential so effective cleanup plans can be formulated for sites being cleaned of toxic substances under the Superfund law.

In analyzing samples taken from the sites, laboratories are supposed to complete their workups within a set period of time to ensure samples do not degrade. The ``holding time'' is designed to ensure a waste sample accurately reflects conditions at a Superfund site.

The EPA said that in May 1987 York Laboratories falsified the dates on their reports on some samples to make it appear the work had been completed within the ``holding time.''

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