February 20, 2006

House arrest, probation imposed on treatment plant operator for falsifying facility records

LETHBRIDGE, ALTA-A former water treatment plant operator has been sentenced to three months of house arrest and a year of probation after pleading guilty to providing false information about water treatment operations at a facility in Carmangay, 60 km north of Lethbridge. During a routine inspection of the facility in January 2004, Alberta Environment staff discovered that operator Larry Lyckman had contradictory sets of turbidity records. Turbidity, or cloudiness, of the water is indicated by the presence of particles such as clay, silt, or organic matter. High turbidity indicates the effectiveness of treatment is declining. Subsequent water sampling by Alberta Environment revealed the turbidity level was over the acceptable standard. The department immediately issued a boil-water advisory, then charged Lyckman under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, which requires water treatment facility operators to provide accurate information about their operations to Alberta Environment. No health concerns were reported and turbidity levels subsequently returned to normal.

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