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Whistle-blower complaint muddies Environmental Protection waters

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A senior chemist with nearly 20 years of experience in the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has filed a whistle-blower complaint.

He alleges DEP fired him for reporting water-testing protocol violations at the Port St. Lucie lab to the agency’s Office of the Inspector General last May. He also complained of harassment, saying superiors knew about the violations.

Shortly after filing his complaints, the chemist was put on administrative leave and finally fired for “data fraud.” And that’s an odd twist since the DEP plans to use his data to identify impaired waters in a Clean Water Act project.

If the Florida Commission on Human Relations doesn’t award reinstatement and back pay, the chemist says he intends to seek a jury trial.  

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