For Immediate Release - November 14, 2013

Drinking Water Board Secures License Surrender

BOSTON – The Board of Certification of Operators of Drinking Water Supply Facilities today announced disciplinary action against Henry Papuga of Milford, who surrendered his license to practice as a drinking water operator in the Commonwealth, the result of a criminal conviction earlier this year.

Papuga was found guilty in Worcester Superior Court on May 17, 2013, on the charges of Tampering with Environmental Monitoring Device or Method (6 counts) and Making False Statements (2 counts).  Papuga was sentenced to one year in the House of Correction and had his license suspended for a five-year probationary period, during which he is prohibited from having involvement in the drinking water industry in any way.  Papuga must also complete 250 hours of community service.   

The convictions stem from an incident in August 2009 when the water supply in the Town of Milford tested positive for E. Coli bacteria. A subsequent order by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) required residents to boil the water before consuming or using it. According to MassDEP’s requirements, the boil-water order could not be lifted until the Milford Water Commission’s testing showed two consecutive rounds of water samples that were free from bacterial contamination.

Papuga tampered with six drinking water samples by adding a form of chlorine to the samples then submitted these tampered samples to a local lab for testing. On two of the forms submitted with the water samples, also known as “chain of custody” forms, Papuga falsely certified the integrity of the samples.

Following the indictment by grand jury on September 22, 2011, Papuga and the Board entered into a non-disciplinary agreement, whereby Papuga agreed to cease his work as an operator at public water supply.  This agreement was in effect during the criminal proceedings, and Papuga surrendered his license upon conviction.

Operators of Drinking Water Supply Facilities are employed by local water distribution and treatment facilities. They are responsible for chemically treating and then distributing our drinking water. The Board of Registration of Operators of Drinking Water Supply Facilities regulates and licenses all operators of these facilities to ensure that the highest safety standards are adhered to in the treatment and distribution of drinking water.

The Board encourages licensees to maintain a high level of competence in the industry and assists them in enrolling in seminars and training programs. The Board holds high standards of quality and service in the industry for the protection of the public's health and safety, and offers nine levels of licensure, from basic employment to management in Drinking Water Facilities. Currently, the Board licenses more than 5,000 individuals working in the drinking water profession.

The Division of Professional Licensure (DPL) is a regulatory agency within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. The agency is responsible for ensuring regulatory compliance and the integrity of the licensing process for more than 370,000 licensees in trades and professions under the jurisdiction of 31 boards of registration. DPL also licenses and regulates private occupational schools.

Consumers are urged to visit the DPL's website at www.mass.gov/dpl and select the “Check a Professional's License” link to determine whether a professional with whom they may do business is licensed and in good standing. Follow DPL on Twitter @MassDPL.

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