News Feature | October 4, 2016

Worker Admits To Falsifying Nearly 300 Drinking Water Samples

Dominique 'Peak' Johnson

By Peak Johnson

watersample.reg

A man in the Town of Cary, NC, pleaded guilty late last month to falsifying sampling results that affect drinking water for the city of 225,000 people.

The worker, Christopher Dale Miller, worked for Cary as a state-certified distribution technician.

According to an email from the U.S. Attorney’s Eastern District office spokesman Don Connelly and obtained by WNCN, Miller collected samples for testing from the drinking water system and tested for residual chlorine.

In addition, Miller collected samples from other locations where he would then package and place them in a cooler, delivering them to the Town of Cary’s lab where they would be tested for total coliform and bacteria, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Eastern District.

However, it’s become clear that Miller did not do what was required of him. The press release reported that he was making false statements by “certifying to the Town of Cary that he obtained water samples from the required locations.”

Miller only collected samples from a few locations. Those that he did collect were submitted along with the lab results to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

It was between August 27, 2014 and December 2014, that Miller falsified the documentation for at least 278 samples, WNCN reported.

When the Town of Cary discovered the altered sampling in late December 2014, they conducted an internal investigation, according to WNCN.

A statement on the crimes read that “Miller lied to his supervisors in the beginning, and later, admitted to collecting multiple samples from the same site and falsifying chain of custody documents.”

Miller was fired by the town, who then reported the situation to state officials, and cooperated in the federal investigation, WNCN reported. He is scheduled for sentencing on December 12.

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Image credit: "Beaker, July 16,  2010" Hilari © 2010 used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/