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Wednesday, September 27, 2000

Navy at Pearl used
test lab now charged
with fraud

By Gregg K. Kakesako

The Navy paid $5,125 for a one-year subcontract in 1997 with a Texas environmental testing company, the employees of which were indicted last week for falsifying test results.

But the company has done no other testing in the islands and other laboratories were used to do the same tests as the company did, the military has said.

Don Rochon, spokesman for the Naval Facilities Engineer Command's Pacific Division, said the $5,125 was part of a five-year, $615,000 contract with Ogden Environmental and Energy Services, a company based in Chantilly, Va.

Earlier, the Navy said a Pennsylvania company, IT Group, which has an office in Honolulu, had subcontracted the services of Intertek Testing Service, which has a subsidiary, Environmental Laboratories in Richardson, Texas, that had been under federal investigation since 1998.

Rochon said IT was involved in another phase of the cleanup of hazardous waste sites at Pearl Harbor.

Rochon said Intertek was used by Ogden only for one year -- 1997 -- "and its findings subsequently were checked by other labs."

The Texas company did preliminary analysis tests on the soil samples after two large underground petroleum and diesel storage tanks, used by the Navy Public Works Center gas station in Pearl Harbor, were removed.

No other military organization or state agencies in Hawaii employed the Texas company.

Thirteen Intertek employees, including the subsidiary's vice president for North American operations, were indicted Thursday in Dallas and charged with fraud and lying to the government.

The tests were conducted between January 1994 and December 1997 on more than 1,000 Superfund locations, landfills and other hazardous waste sites in Texas and the Western United States.

Intertek did soil, water and air tests looking for carcinogens and other pollutants for environmental consulting and engineering firms, and for the federal and state governments.

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