The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office charged the owner of a Berks County excavation business with falsifying water test results in Quarryville and Wyomissing in 2016 and 2017.
Matthew Barrasso faces a felony charge of tampering with public records and information and misdemeanor charges of forgery, unsworn falsification and tampering with public water systems.
Barrasso, 43, of Mohnton, owns Barrasso Excavations Inc.
He is accused of knowingly altering the results of tests performed July 7-8, 2016, in Quarryville. He allegedly changed the results from positive to negative for total coliform.
Coliforms are bacteria that are not harmful and are naturally occurring, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Their presence can indicate the presence of E. Coli or other bacteria and requires further testing
The project in Quarryville involved replacing the main water line along South Hess Street and Park Avenue, according to borough manager Ken Work.
He said Quarryville Elementary School, several businesses and residential homes are located in that part of the borough.
The borough was unaware the water samples failed any tests because they were only presented with the altered paperwork, Work said.
According to the affidavit, it wasn’t until an investigator received the original sample results from Suburban Testing Labs in May that it was known the samples were positive for total coliform.
Public water systems are tasked with daily monitoring of drinking water, and results from those tests have not shown contamination, Work said.
“Our water is constantly tested, and it’s good,” he said.
The investigation began in November 2017 when the attorney general’s office received a referral from the state Department of Environmental Protection about allegations that Barrasso’s business altered the water test results in Wyomissing in June 2017.
The original results from the three tests were emailed to Barrasso by Suburban Testing Labs, at which point he allegedly altered the documents before forwarding them to the municipalities and the state DEP.
Barrasso waived a preliminary hearing Monday and is free on $50,000 unsecured bail.
A woman who answered the phone at Barrasso Excavations on Monday had no comment.