Starkey Citizens for a Clean & Healthy Environment
Tainted Water Testing Lab Flourished Under Lax New York State Regulators

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Even after armed federal investigators raided its offices in 2010 and the New York Department of Health suspended its state certification in early 2012, Upstate Laboratories Inc. continued its lucrative business of testing water samples from landfills and wastewater treatment plants across the state.

Officially, state environmental regulators will not accept test results from labs the DOH has not certified. The rule is fundamental to the integrity of the program that was designed to protect the state’s waterways from industrial pollution. Yet the state Department of Environmental Conservation kept accepting Upstate’s test results for more than a year after DEC managers learned of the suspension and wrote emails saying the results should be rejected.

On the morning of February 27, 2012, the DOH notified the DEC that it had suspended Upstate Labs. A few hours later, Jason Fagel, an official at the DEC’s Division of Water, emailed other DEC managers: “For any regulatory entity that your division may oversee, like landfills, they should not be using Upstate to report monitoring results to DEC. If you notice this happening, DOH would like to know about it.”
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