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EXCLUSIVE: County cop says he was fired for talking about Bethlehem water plant mercury spill

The DEC fined the town $15,000 in June for "mercury and petroleum reporting and handling violations" that occurred over the past two years.

By signing a consent form, paying the $15,000 and remaining compliant, the town does not have to pay an additional $60,000 civil penalty to the DEC, according to the state's signed consent order, which stated the fine could have totaled $75,000.

Currently the town is in full compliant with all of the stipulations of the consent order signed by Cunningham on June 6, according to DEC Region 4 spokesman Rick Georgeson.

"Bethlehem is in full compliance with the consent order and has given us everything we asked for," Georgeson said.

Fish stated that problems at the town water plant were ignored until the DEC got involved and that he spoke out about the mercury spills partly because he felt he and other workers were being put at risk.

He said he was never given anything in writing besides his termination letter about why he was fired and that he has no record of disciplinary measures taken against him or his work performance. Fish said he asked to be reinstated, but was denied.

"It was a good job, I enjoyed it up until recently. I didn't enjoy them letting us walk around in mercury for two years," Fish said. "They informed the public there was no health risk to them in the water but they didn't really seem to care about us employees."

For and updated version of this story go to www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Aug. 27 print edition of The Spotlight.

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