An Adams County man who was the operator of an East Manchester Township sewage treatment plant was charged Thursday by the state Attorney General's Office with filing falsified documents and allowing contaminated water into a creek.
Todd Nell, 48, of 163 Orchard Drive in Berwick Township is charged with tampering with public records or identification, unsworn falsifications to authorities and unlawful conduct under Pennsylvania's Clean Streams Law.
If convicted, Nell faces up to $50,000 in fines and seven years in prison for each offense, according to state officials.
The charges stem from allegations that Nell falsified monthly waste water reports to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and allowed unpermitted waste water discharges into the Codorus Creek in 2011.
At the time of the alleged offenses, Nell was a certified operator at the Asbury Pointe sewage treatment plant in East Manchester Township.
Inspections: State officials first began investigating Nell on March 2, 2011, and DEP inspectors found the sewage treatment plant was in "disarray," according to his charging documents.
Inspectors found sewage on the ground, scum layers, rags in a distribution box and inoperable equipment, documents state.
During subsequent inspections of the plant on March 9 and 15, 2011, investigators saw "solids discharging into the Codorus Creek," documents state.
Between April 6 and April 19, 2011, Nell allegedly failed to sample outflowing water from the plant for total residual chlorine, state officials said.
Seal: On April 6 inspectors took note that the amount of reagent packets, used as part of waste water testing, did not reflect daily usage and placed a legal seal on the testing equipment, documents state.
The seal had to be broken in order for the equipment to be used for testing but when the inspectors returned on April 19, the seal remained intact, documents state.
Despite never sampling the waste Nell allegedly completed, signed and submitted a discharge monitor report to DEP stating the required testing was completed at the plant on a daily basis, officials said.
Nell will be prosecuted in York County by Chief Deputy Attorney General Glenn Parno of the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section.
- Reach Greg Gross at email@example.com.