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Lab owner charged with faking wastewater tests

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — The owner of an environmental laboratory in Mississippi has been charged with falsifying records on industrial wastewater samples that she was hired to test.

Tennie White, owner and sole operator of Mississippi Environmental Analytical Laboratories Inc., was indicted Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson. She's charged with two counts of making false statements and one count of obstruction.

The indictment says that Borg Warner Emissions Systems Inc. hired White to test wastewater discharge at its car parts plant in Water Valley. The tests were used for reports that were submitted to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

The indictment alleges that White created three reports in 2009 that indicated testing had been done, when it had not.

Court records didn't list an attorney. The lab's number was disconnected. No one responded to a message at a home phone number listed under White's name.

The indictment says Borg has a permit from MDEQ to discharge wastewater through the Water Valley publically-owned treatment works system, which discharges into Otoucalofa Creek, but the company must meet certain conditions based on the concentration of certain pollutants.

The company is required to take samples each month, analyze them and record the results. The test results are turned over to MDEQ.

The indictment says White created three false discharge monitoring reports from February to August 2009 based on samples that were supposedly taken in late 2008. She's also charged with lying to an investigator.

White faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each court of making false statements and up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on the obstruction charge.

MDEQ spokesman Robbie Wilbur said the agency had no comment.

Borg Warner Emissions Systems officials didn't immediately respond to messages. The plant in Mississippi makes automotive parts.


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