Man pleads guilty to water facility tampering

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ELLSWORTH COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) — A Kansas man pleaded guilty to tampering with the computer system at a drinking water treatment facility in Ellsworth.

Wyatt Travnichek, 23, pleaded guilty to tampering with a public water system and reckless damage to a protected computer system during unauthorized access.

Travnichek was hired by the Post Rock Water District in Jan. 2018, and he resigned from his position one year later in Jan. 2019.

Two months later, on March 27, 2019, the remote log in system was used to shut down the plant and turn off one of the filters.

In a joint investigation done by the EPA, FBI, and KBI, it was determined that Travnichek’s cell phone was used to log into the system and was in his possession at the time of the shutdown.

Travnichek told investigators that he was intoxicated and did not remember anything about the night of the shutdown.

“There is no doubt that Travnichek’s intentional actions directly placed the public in harm’s way,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub said. “The plea should send a clear message to anyone who attempts to tamper with public facilities – law enforcement will remain resolute in investigating any and all threats that put the public’s health at risk.”

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