Civil settlement reached over testing procedure claims

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  • By AFOSI Public Affairs
An environmental testing company headquartered in Dayton, New Jersey, will pay $3 million to resolve allegations that it failed to follow proper EPA methodology during some of its tests, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman announced Dec. 3

Accutest Corp., also known as Accutest Laboratories is an environmental testing laboratory founded in 1956. It provides environmental analytical services to industrial, engineering/consulting, and government clients, according to its website.

Fishman credited special agents of the Environmental Protection Agency under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Thomas E. Muskett of the EPA, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations, Washington Field Office; the U.S. Department of Defense, Defense Criminal Investigative Service, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Craig W. Rupert; the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, Major Procurement Fraud Unit, Mid-Atlantic Fraud Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Larry S. Moreland. He also thanked the U.S. Navy Criminal Investigative Service - Northeast Field Office and the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

The settlement resolves allegations that  between Jan. 1, 2011, and Dec. 31, 2013, Accutest failed to properly follow EPA standards in analyzing certain soil and water samples in its semi-volatile and extraction laboratories.

It was alleged that Accutest did not properly extract samples because: (1) It did not perform the required number of shakes for waste water samples, (2) it did not wait the required amount of time in between shakes of the samples, and (3) it did not properly "spike" samples with a known compound as part of the quality control process, possibly affecting the quality control process in place to ensure that materials in the sample were fully extracted. It was also alleged that Accutest altered the settings on their gas chromatography/mass spectrometry machines and disregarded calibration protocols.

In addition to the $3 million payment by Accutest, the company has agreed to fully comply with the requirements of its certifying bodies regarding notice of the allegations and has agreed to notify any of its clients that could have been impacted by the alleged conduct.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark C. Orlowski of the U.S. Attorney's Civil Division in Newark, N.J.

(Editor's Note: The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs contributed to this story.)