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Release Date: 10/17/1995
Contact Information: Dave Schmidt, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1578

  (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S.EPA) today announced that it has suspended the Phoenix, Ariz. division of Westech Laboratories Inc. from further federal contract work, because the lab allegedly falsified groundwater and drinking water test results.  

     Westech is known to have analyzed samples for municipal drinking water systems in Arizona cities including Flagstaff, Kingman, Prescott, Safford, Wickenburg, Lake Havasu City, Scottsdale, St. Johns, and Paradise Valley.  Westech produced data for numerous federal agencies, including the National Park Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  These included test results from the groundwater treatment plant at the North Indian Bend Wash Superfund Site, operated by the city of Scottsdale.
   "The quality of laboratory data received from hazardous waste sites and municipal drinking water systems is extremely important to us," said Keith Takata, director of Superfund programs for U.S. EPA's western regional office.  "As we protect public health and the environment, we need to be confident that the laboratory results we rely on are accurate."

       On August 1, 1995, the Arizona Department of Health Services filed an administrative action to revoke the license of the laboratory and assess civil penalties.  A hearing is pending.

     The federal government's suspension will temporarily prevent the Westech Inc. Phoenix laboratory from getting new federal government contracts and grants.  The laboratory has not been found guilty of any offenses at this point and has the right to respond to the charges and request a hearing before U.S. EPA.  If the charges are proven, the suspension could lead to debarment.  A debarred company usually may not receive federal contracts and grants for up to three years or longer depending on the seriousness of the misconduct.

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