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Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Announces Judgment Against a Waukesha County Laboratory


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced today that that his office has obtained a judgment against S-F Analytical Laboratories, Inc. (S-F), of New Berlin.  The Waukesha County Circuit Court judgment requires S-F to pay $20,000 in forfeitures, mandatory court costs, and surcharges for violations of its laboratory certification and compensate its clients for past test results that were disallowed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).


S-F was certified by the DNR to conduct Whole Effluent Toxicity (WET) testing in 1997.  Discharged wastewater toxicity testing is required of wastewater permit holders to determine the toxicity of their wastewater and to establish effluent permit restrictions.  In April 2011, after conducting its own investigation, S-F voluntarily reported to the DNR that several employees in the WET lab did not follow proper protocols.  DNR conducted an audit of S-F's laboratory and confirmed a series of laboratory certification violations. Once the scope of the WET lab deficiencies was confirmed, the DNR determined that the lab's WET test results from July 2008 to March 2011 were unreliable and stopped using them in making WET decisions for SF's Wisconsin permit holders.  In June of 2011 S-F voluntarily closed its WET lab.  S-F continues to operate its other laboratories, which were not the subject of this investigation or complaint.


The complaint alleges that, in its WET lab S-F failed to properly handle samples, failed to properly maintain its facility and equipment, failed to follow proper methods, failed to report deviations from required protocols and failed to provide sufficient quality controls. 


The Court ordered S-F to pay $20,000 in forfeitures, mandatory court costs, and surcharges for violations of its laboratory certification.  S-F also agreed to pay an estimated $290,000 to its clients for the past test results that were disallowed by the DNR.  In addition, S-F will pay the DNR and the Wisconsin Department of Justice a total of $20,000 for their costs of investigation and prosecution of the violations. 


According to the DNR, which issues wastewater pollution control permits with WET testing requirements and certifies WET laboratories, the conditions in such permits and certifications protect aquatic life and public health by restricting the discharge of toxic chemicals.  Laboratories conducting WET tests must follow codified test methods in order to maintain their certification and to ensure that data that is used to determine compliance with permit requirements is accurate and represents conditions that may occur when the wastewater enters the environment.


Assistant Attorney General Steven Tinker represented the State.  Judge James R. Kieffer of Waukesha County Circuit Court signed the Order for Judgment and Judgment on February 4, 2013.


Copies of the Summons, Complaint, and the Stipulation and Order for Judgment are available here.