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FBI Raids Municipal Water Offices in San Bernardino

Investigation: City officials say they believe the action is linked to a probe of possible violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

February 03, 1996|From a Times Staff Writer

SAN BERNARDINO — City water officials said Friday they believe that their department is under investigation for possible violations of the federal Clean Water Act, after an FBI raid on their offices Thursday.

Agents startled employees by showing up on the fifth floor of City Hall, cordoning off offices with yellow crime tape and carting off documents, computer files and even entire computers, said Harold Willis, chairman of the city's Board of Water Commissioners. The commission oversees the city's municipal water and waste-water treatment utilities.

Assistant U.S. Atty. William Carter in Los Angeles declined comment on the reason for the search warrant. The affidavit in support of the search was sealed.

Investigators with the state's Regional Water Quality Control Board accompanied the federal agents, but that agency also declined comment.

Willis said he believes agents were searching for records documenting a previously acknowledged spill of treated waste water from a reclamation plant during heavy rains last year, perhaps for a federal grand jury investigation into possible violations of the federal Clean Water Act.

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