|For Immediate Release
October 21st, 2002
|Contact:||Environmental Protection Unit
Deputy District Attorney
Orange County District Attorney Prosecutes Lab for Reporting False Information to Public Agency
SANTA ANA – October 21, 2002 – Today the Environmental Protection Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s office filed misdemeanor charges against Dr. Fleet Rust, Ph.D., and his company, GeoScience Analytical, Inc., based in Simi Valley. He is charged with submitting false field testing data – a practice known as “dry-labbing” – to the Orange County Health Care Agency Solid Waste Local Enforcement Agency (LEA), the agency responsible for regulatory oversight of all current and former solid waste disposal sites.
Dr. Rust was hired by the City of Huntington Beach to monitor the levels of methane gas at two former landfill sites situated near residential areas, the Edison Community Park, at Magnolia Street and Hamilton Avenue, and the Huntington Beach Central Library at 7111 Talbert Avenue. Methane gas, which is created by the decomposition of solid wastes, is dangerous in large amounts because it can potentially create an explosion if allowed to build-up underground. Reporting accurate information about methane gas levels is critical because relying upon false data puts the public at risk.
Dr. Rust faces a possible jail sentence of up to two (2) years and maximum fines of up to $50,000 for violating California Health & Safety Code section 25191(b)(1). In addition, the City of Huntington Beach Fire Department and the Huntington Beach City School District may be entitled to reimbursement for the more than $30,000 spent to investigate the situation and conduct extensive follow-up testing and monitoring of the sites to ensure the safety of local residents. These tests confirmed that there is no public threat at these sites.
The charges follow a joint investigation by the Environmental Protection Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s office and the Orange County Health Care Agency Solid Waste LEA. “I want to praise the efforts of all the investigators and prosecutors involved in this case,” Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas stated, “it is critically important to protect our communities – especially the families and children – from businesses who compromise public safety in pursuit of a profit. I applaud the work of our entire County team.”