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BlueArray wastewater treatment files complaint against Department of Ecology

Sun., Oct. 13, 2013

CENTRALIA, Wash. – The startup company behind Vader’s innovative approach to wastewater treatment this week filed a complaint against the state Department of Ecology and two engineers.

BlueArray details alleged corruption, abuses of power, conflicts of interest and illegal conduct by Ecology officials in the complaint filed Wednesday with the Washington State Executive Ethics Board. BlueArray cites specific allegations against two Ecology engineers, Greg Zentner and Al Bolinger, in the 22-page complaint.

“There’s so much corruption, it’s just heartbreaking,” Victoria Jelderks, BlueArray’s environmental engineer, told the Chronicle, of Centralia. “It’s just wrong. It’s like a sociopath run amuck.”

BlueArray is accusing Ecology officials of violating state law by adding requirements to the company’s certification process, misrepresenting the department’s rights, withholding public information, making defamatory statements against the business and misusing their authority to intimidate potential customers from working with the startup. The alleged violations occurred in several Lewis County cities BlueArray has worked with, including Morton, Toledo and Vader.

The ethics board opened BlueArray’s case Friday and expects to officially notify Ecology and the engineers Monday, according to Administrative Officer Ruthann Bryant. Ecology, along with Zentner and Bolinger, will have 30 days to respond to the allegations.

Once the board receives the information from Ecology, an investigator will review the allegations and the responses to determine if a violation has occurred.

“Our agency is happy to provide any assistance or information the board requests,” Ecology spokeswoman Linda Kent said. “We expect the board would do a thorough review.”

If the investigator finds reasonable cause for a violation, the Ethics Board will review it. If the complaint lacks evidence, the board’s director may dismiss the case. Bryant said she expects the investigation to take about 90 days.

Kent said Ecology will wait until the ethics board finishes looking into the complaint before determining how to handle the issue internally. Because BlueArray is making allegations against two specific employees, Kent said she could not immediately comment on the contents of the complaint.

BlueArray made a presentation to the Toledo City Council this week, offering its product in place of a planned $10 million sewer treatment project. The presentation came after BlueArray was recently contracted by the city of Vader to handle its wastewater treatment.


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