Home About Archives RSS Feed

Lee Man Charged For False Drinking Water Tests

By: The Attorney General's Office

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The director of a private water testing laboratory in Lee has been indicted in connection with backdating drinking water sample analyses to cover-up misconduct and feign compliance with environmental laws, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced today.

William Enser, Jr., 63, of Lee, was indicted by a Berkshire County Grand Jury on 15 counts of Knowingly Falsifying Reports Submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection and 15 counts of Willfully Making False Reports to the Department of Environmental Protection.

"This defendant allegedly backdated reports sent to officials to make it appear that water samples were tested within the required timeframe when in fact, they were not," Attorney General Martha Coakley said. "As the director of the lab, he was entrusted with ensuring the integrity of the testing and the safety of the water supply. We allege that he neglected those responsibilities by cutting corners and then attempting to cover it up."

In September 2012, the AG's Office began an investigation after the matter was initially investigated and referred by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Enser was the director of Berkshire Enviro-Labs, Inc. in Lee that had previously acted as a certified drinking water lab to provide drinking water testing for private and public water suppliers in western Massachusetts.

"Labs that test drinking water samples must be held to very strict standards to ensure that the health and safety of the public is never compromised," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. "This indictment suggests that the lab director purposely skewed the data and undermined the system. MassDEP staff conducting audit, inspection and investigative functions uncovered this fraud and helped to bring this operator to justice."

Authorities allege that at times between 2008 and 2012, Enser falsified the dates of drinking water sample analyses on reports submitted to the MassDEP in an attempt to make it appear that the analyses had been completed within the required holding time for those substances, when in fact, they had not. The analyses were being run for the presence of nitrates and nitrites, substances that can contaminate drinking water. The maximum sample holding time, or the time from sample collection to sample analysis, for these kinds of samples is 48 hours. After 48 hours, the lab analysis is not considered reliable.

Investigation revealed that the dates submitted to the MassDEP differed from those found on the chromatogram, a chart printed from the instrument used to analyze the samples, in an alleged attempt to feign compliance with state environmental laws.

MassDEP conducted additional analysis to determine if the falsification of the data put the public at risk. Based on the prompt closing of the lab, MassDEP’s own additional sampling and close review of the data concerning nitrates and nitrites, the agency does not believe that the water that was the subject of the back-dated samples put the public at risk.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Massachusetts Environmental Strike Force, an interagency unit which is overseen by Coakley, Kimmell and Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr. The Strike Force comprises prosecutors from the Attorney General's Office, Environmental Police Officers assigned to the Attorney General's Office, and investigators and engineers from the MassDEP who investigate and prosecute crimes that harm or threaten the state's water, air, or land and that pose a significant threat to human health.

A Berkshire County Grand Jury returned indictments against Enser on Wednesday. He will be arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court on Jan. 23. In September 2012, MassDEP's Wall Experiment Station Lab Certification Office, which certifies and audits these kinds of labs, revoked the certification of Enviro-Labs that allowed them to analyze water samples as a result of falsification of data and engaging in deceptive practices. The laboratory has not been conducting analysis on water samples since that time.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, Chief of the Environmental Crimes Strike Force, and Assistant Attorney General Sara Farnum, of AG Coakley's Environmental Crimes Division, with assistance from the Massachusetts Environmental Police, and the MassDEP Strike Force Director Pamela Talbot and investigators Tim Dame and Joel Rees. MassDEP staff also worked to corroborate the technical findings and to ensure the continued delivery of certified lab services to affected water suppliers. That staff is Marielle Stone, Western Regional Office Director Michael Gorski and Brian Harrington, Jim Gibbs, Deirdre Cabral and Doug Paine. MassDEP lab staff, Anne Marie Allen, John Bardzik and Lisa Touet provided valuable assistance with the lab audit and inspections.

News Headlines
Adams Police Welcome New Officer
Mount Greylock School Committee Passes Anti-Charter School Resolution
Adams-Cheshire Holds Public Input Meetings This Weekend
Waterstone Makes $20K Down Payment On Pittsfield Walmart Project
Lanesborough Elementary Retains Level 1 Ranking
Founding Director Bowen Leaving BArT at End of School Year
Letter: Ballot Question 2
Letter: How Should I Vote On Prop 2?
SVMC Presents 'Taking the Scare Out of an Abnormal Mammogram'
Massachusetts Health Connector's 'Hidden Gems' Tour Visits North Adams

Police Logs

Pittsfield Police

North Adams

Crimewatch Links

North Adams CrimeWatch

Stamford/Clarksburg CrimeWatch

Pittsfield CrimeWatch

Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
Clarksburg 413-663-7795
Cheshire 413-743-1501
Dalton 413-684-0300
Great Barrington 413-528-0306
Lanesborough 413-443-4107
Lee 413-243-2100
Lenox 413-637-2346
North Adams 413-664-4944
Pittsfield 413-448-9700
Richmond 413-698-3315
Stockbridge 413-298-4179
Williamstown 413-458-5733
West Stockbridge 413-232-7938
State Police  
Cheshire Barracks
Lee Barracks 413-243-0600
Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263


Adams (53)
Alford (0)
Becket (6)
Cheshire (14)
Clarksburg (31)
Dalton (5)
Egremont (0)
Florida (5)
Great Barrington (17)
Hancock (5)
Hinsdale (3)
Lanesborough (22)
Lee (12)
Lenox (11)
Monterey (0)
Mount Washington (0)
New Ashford (5)
New Marlborough (1)
North Adams (180)
Otis (2)
Peru (2)
Pittsfield (192)
Pownal (12)
Readsboro (13)
Richmond (8)
Sandisfield (2)
Savoy (5)
Sheffield (2)
Stamford (29)
State (1)
Stockbridge (5)
Tyringham (1)
Washington (1)
West Stockbridge (1)
Williamstown (65)
Windsor (3)
October 2016 (9)
September 2016 (15)
August 2016 (20)
July 2016 (13)
June 2016 (12)
May 2016 (14)
April 2016 (15)
March 2016 (2)
Drugs Larceny Homicide Mvi Rape Buglaries Police Investigation Cocaine Assaults Assault Fire Accident Break-ins Drug Charges Pedestrians Police Veremko Shooting Motor Vehicle Injuries Murder Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident Structure Fire Armed Robbery Crime Watch Fraud Heroin Missing Persons Crash Vehicle Stabbing Robbery Arrest Search
Popular Entries:
Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead
North Adams Woman Killed in Route 2 Crash
North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home
Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg
North Adams Man Arraigned on Child Porn Charges
Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
Cariddi Auto Sales Burns
Fatal Accident Closes Route 8 in Adams
Donations Reach State Road Fire Victims
New Ashford Crash Turns Fatal for Williamstown Man
Recent Entries:
State Police Bomb Squad Deactivate Pressurized Bottles in Adams
Williamstown Woman Charged in Hit-And-Run Accident
Clarksburg, North Adams Team Up to Save House
Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 30 - Oct. 6
Dalton Man Killed in Cheshire Crash
One Man Injured In Pittsfield Structure Fire
Small portion of Fred Mason Road Closed After Minor Car Accident
Nationwide Creepy Clown Hoax Comes To The Berkshires
Witnesses Sought in Williamstown Hit-and-Run
Superior Court Briefs: Sept. 26 - Sept. 29