Jan 15, 2021

Owner of Oil Chem Inc. Pleads Guilty to Clean Water Act Violations

The violations involve illegal discharges of landfill leachate totaling more than 47 million gallons into the city of Flint sanitary sewer system over an 8.5 year period.

water

The president and owner of Oil Chem Inc. pleaded guilty in federal court in Flint, Michigan, to a criminal charge of violating the Clean Water Act. 

These violations involve illegal discharges of landfill leachate totaling more than 47 million gallons into the city of Flint sanitary sewer system over an 8.5 year period, reported WLNS News

Robert J. Massey, 69, of Brighton, Michigan, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stephanie Dawkins Davis in the Eastern District of Michigan. 

Oil Chem, located in Flint, Michigan, processed and discharged industrial wastewater to Flint’s sewer system, according to WLNS News. Oil Chem held a permit issued by the city of Flint under the Clean Water Act, which allowed it to discharge certain industrial wastes within permit limitations.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 14.  

The treatment plant’s discharge point for the treated wastewater was downstream of the location where drinking water was taken from the Flint River in 2014 to 2015, according to WLNS News. According to the plea agreement filed in federal court, Oil Chem’s permit prohibited the discharge of landfill leachate waste.

Although Massey signed and certified Oil Chem’s 2008 permit application, he did not disclose that his company had been and planned to continue to receive landfill leachate, which was then discharged to the sewers untreated. According to WLNS News, Massey directed employees of Oil Chem to begin discharging the leachate at the close of business each day. This would allow the waste to flow from a storage tank to the sanitary sewer overnight.

This occurred between January 2007 through October 2015. In total, Massey arranged for Oil Chem to receive approximately 47,824,293 gallons of landfill leachate from 8 different landfills located in Michigan. 

One of the landfills was found to have PCBs in its leachate.

The case is being prosecuted by Senior Counsel Kris Dighe of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crimes Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Ann Nee and Jules DePorre of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan.

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