WYATT A. TRAVNICHEK INDICTED FOR TAMPERING WITH A PUBLIC WATER
April 5, 2021
A Kansas man has been indicted on a federal charge accusing him of
tampering with a public water system, Acting U.S. Attorney Duston
WYATT A. TRAVNICHEK, 22, of Ellsworth County, Kansas is charged with
one count of tampering with a public water system and one count of
reckless damage to a protected computer during unauthorized access.
“Our office is committed to maintaining and improving its
partnership with the state of Kansas in the administration and
implementation of the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974,” said Acting
U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard. “Drinking water that is considered
safe is essential to the protection of the public’s health.”
The indictment alleges that on or about March 27, 2019, in the
District of Kansas, Travnichek knowingly accessed the Ellsworth
County Rural Water District’s protected computer system without
authorization. During this unauthorized access, it is alleged
Travnichek performed activities that shut down the processes at the
facility which affect the facilities cleaning and disinfecting
procedures with the intention of harming the Ellsworth Rural Water
District No. 1, also known as Post Rock Rural Water District.
“By illegally tampering with a public drinking water system, the
defendant threatened the safety and health of an entire community,”
said Lance Ehrig, Special Agent in Charge of EPA’s Criminal
Investigation Division in Kansas. “EPA and its law enforcement
partners are committed to upholding the laws designed to protect our
drinking water systems from harm or threat of harm. Today’s
indictment sends a clear message that individuals who intentionally
violate these laws will be vigorously prosecuted.”
conviction, the alleged crimes carry the following penalties:
Tampering with a Public Water System: Up to 20 years in federal
prison and a fine up to $250,000.
Reckless Damage to a Protected Computer During Unauthorized
Access: Up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.
The Environmental Protection Agency, Kansas Bureau of Investigation
and Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.
Assistant United States Attorney Christine E. Kenney is prosecuting