Berks County construction company owner accused of falsifying water sample reports in Berks, Lancaster counties

HARRISBURG — The owner of a Berks County construction company was arrested Friday, accused of falsifying lab reports for water samples taken after the installation of new water mains in Berks and Lancaster Counties, according to state Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

Matthew Barrasso, 43, of Mohnton, has been charged with tampering with public records, violating the Safe Drinking Water Act, forgery, and unsworn falsification, Shapiro said in a press release.

The case was referred to Shapiro’s office by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

According to Shapiro, Barrasso’s company, Barrasso Excavation Inc., replaced  a water main in Wyomissing, Berks County in June 2017. The complaint alleges that Barrasso changed lab results to indicate that samples from the water main were negative for total coliform and E. coli.

Relying on these results, Shapiro said, Wyomissing connected the new water main to the Wyomissing distribution system that served approximately 40 residential connections.

Barrasso is accused of engaging in the same conduct in Quarryville, Lancaster County, Shapiro said.

“Pennsylvanians have a constitutional right to pure water—and I will do everything in my power to defend that right,” said Shapiro in a press release announcing Barrasso’s arrest. “This defendant recklessly changed lab results to lie about the quality of the drinking water for dozens of households, putting the health and wellbeing of those citizens at risk. I’m grateful for the hard work of my Office’s Environmental Crimes Section to hold the defendant accountable and protect the drinking water of the people of Berks and Lancaster Counties.”

The charges were filed before Magisterial District Judge Steven Chieffo in Berks County District Court. The case is being prosecuted by Chief Deputy Attorney General Rebecca Franz.

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