Wilkes-Barre, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today it has entered into a consent order and agreement with J. Robert DeSandis of Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County to surrender his operator certifications as a Water and Wastewater Systems Operator. DeSandis has admitted to submitting, on 130 separate occasions, false water and wastewater treatment reports from public drinking water systems and sewage waste facilities that he operates.
DeSandis was the systems operator at facilities in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, and Wyoming County and was responsible for monitoring, testing, and reporting water quality to DEP. The suspension of his certification is for an indefinite period.
“As soon as we discovered the falsification of these records, we took the actions necessary to protect public health and public resources from this operator,” said Mike Bedrin, Director of DEP’s Northeast Regional Office in Wilkes-Barre. “There is no place in Pennsylvania for fraudulent reporting of the quality of resources that have a real effect on the public health. We will continue to work with the affected community to make sure that everyone has a safe, reliable source of water.”
In 2015, DeSandis as the operator of the drinking water system at the Village of Four Seasons in Herrick Township and the Dallas Mobile Home Park in Dallas Township, revealed to DEP staff that on 27 separate occasions, he knowingly reported false test results for chlorine levels in drinking water samples. At least one of those samples would have resulted in a boil-water advisory to residents.
DeSandis also operated eight waste water facilities, including Deer Haven in Palmyra Township; Edgewood Mobile Home Park in Glenburn Township; Outhouse Springs, LLC of Benton Township; Village of Four Seasons in Herrick Township; St. Gabriel’s Monastery in South Abington Township; Stillwater Sewer Corporation in Coolbaugh Township; Stone Hedge Sewer Company in Tunkhannock Township; and Tall Timbers Village in LaPlume Township.
In 2016, DeSandis admitted to filing false discharge monitoring reports. Those reports indicate the volume of sewage waste-water being discharged from treatment facilities and the level of contaminants.
As part of the agreement, DeSandis has agreed to not seek reinstatement of his operator certification or apply for a new one.
The false sample reports are a violation of the facility’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, DeSandis’s operating certificate, the Safe Drinking Water Act, and the Clean Streams Law.