The licensed operator of the South River Water Dept. was arrested and charged with submitting false water samples and records to a lab for testing, according to Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.

After South River police investigated allegations that Robert Baker submitted false water samples they conducted surveillance that they say show he did not go to four of the eight designated sample collection sites on May 21, according to Grewal, but gave a courier eight filled vials for testing.

On Tuesday, Grewal said the police surveillance team reported he failed to go any of the eight sample sites yet again submitted eight vials for testing.

The samples were being tested for the presence of coliform bacteria, a group of bacteria found in the intestines of humans and animals and acts as a indicator of possible fecal contamination.

The Department of Environmental Protection collected samples of the public water from several points within the borough, which tested negative for coliform bacteria.

Grewal did not disclose why Baker submitted incomplete samples. He is charged with a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, a third-degree crime.

This is not the first time prosecutors have charged a water company official about lying about tests. In 2016, Edward O'Rourke, of Brick, a licensed operator for water systems in New Brunswick and Milltown, was sentenced to three years in prison for submitting false samples.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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