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WESTMORELAND LABORATORY AND OWNER CHARGED BY PREATE

 WESTMORELAND LABORATORY AND OWNER CHARGED BY PREATE
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- A former Westmoreland


County clinical laboratory and one of its owners were charged today with the illegal storage and disposal of medical wastes, Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr. announced.
 Two garbage collectors were sprayed with blood samples as a result of the allegedly illegal disposal, according to the charges.
 Complaints filed by Preate's Environmental Crimes Section charge both Tri-State Clinical Laboratory Inc., 306 Clay Ave., Jeannette, Pa., and Joseph Rusnock, 48, of 601 Briarleaf Drive, Pittsburgh, with two misdemeanor violations of the state's Solid Waste Management Act.
 Preate said the charges resulted from an investigation prompted by a referral from the Department of Environmental Resources (DER).
 Authorities allege that in July 1990 the defendants stored waste blood cultures without refrigeration in a garage near the laboratory for a longer period than permitted by DER regulations.
 The second count charges the defendants with disposing of medical wastes in a municipal waste dumpster at the laboratory in the fall of 1990.
 As a result of the illegal disposal, the charges allege, on Oct. 4, 1990, two garbage collectors working for the City of Jeannette were sprayed with blood when the waste was being crushed in their garbage truck.
 "State law strictly regulates the storage and disposal of medical wastes, including blood and body fluids," Preate said.
 Rusnock was arraigned before Jeannette District Justice Donald C. Japalucci and released on his own recognizance. A preliminary hearing for both Rusnock and the company is scheduled for Feb. 6 at 9:30 a.m. before Japalucci.
 Each of the counts against Rusnock carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $25,000 fine. The maximum penalty facing the company is a $25,000 fine per count.
 Deputy Attorney General Matthew L. Wolford of the Environmental Crimes Section, who is serving as prosecutor, noted that Tri-State Clinical Laboratory closed last Aug. 16.
 The Environmental Crimes Section is part of the Office of Attorney General. It operates in cooperation with DER, from which it receives additional staff and funding.
 -0- 1/21/92
 /CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis of Pa. Office of Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or home at 717-657-9840/ CO: Office of Attorney General; Tri-State Clinical Laboratory Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: HEA MTC SU:


PT -- PG012 -- 2100 01/21/92 17:16 EST
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Date:Jan 21, 1992
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