Crime & Courts

Man, 64, guilty of lying about quality of Garden Plain’s drinking water to EPA

Garden Plain’s former water system operator pleaded guilty Monday to lying to the Environmental Protection Agency about where he got tap water samples used to test the quality of the town’s drinking water.

An indictment filed last October accused 64-year-old Arthur Wolfe of falsifying bacteriological reports required by the EPA. The indictment claimed Wolfe had collected tap water samples from four homes in Garden Plain two winters ago, when really the water all came from one address, 411 Loomis — the water treatment plant.

Water samples typically are taken from several location to make sure bacteria is not seeping into the city’s water supply. Garden Plain, a town of about 900 residents west of Wichita on U.S. 54, is required to test two samples a month.

The indictment alleged Wolfe lied about where he took the water samples on Dec. 22, 2017, and on Feb. 6, 2018.

Wolfe pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement in a report to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, U.S. Attorney Stephen McAllister said in a news release.

Wolfe, who lives in Norwich, faces up to a year in federal prison and a fine of up to $100,000. He is scheduled for sentencing on Dec. 2.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.