The signs outside New Brunswick's drinking water treatment plant warn trespassers of dire consequences, warning intruders of prosecution to the fullest extent of the law. The biggest threat to the utility, however, comes from the inside.
Longtime employee and licensed operator Ed O'Rourke pleaded guilty on Thursday to charges of corruption of public resources and violations of the Clean Drinking Water Act.
"This defendant, Edward O'Rourke, had a responsibility to take testing samples and then report them," said Elie Honig of the New Jersey Attorney General's Office. "He didn't do that. He did not do the required testing on hundreds of occasions, and then to cover up his tracks, he went back and falsified the testing data in various ways."
Honig added that his investigation did not reveal that anyone was sickened during O'Rourke's tenure, but that it was hard to tell since testing data had been falsified.
New Brunswick public information officer Jennifer Bradshaw released a statement saying improvements had been made to the utility since 2013, including the renovation of filters.
Redundancies have also been implemented, according to the statement, which would ensure that O'Rourke's offenses would not be repeated.
O’Rourke faces 3 years in prison.