Flint business owner sentenced for dumping waste into sewers

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FLINT — A Flint business owner was sentenced to one year in prison for illegally dumping nearly 48 million gallons (182 million liters) of liquid landfill waste into the city’s sewers over several years.

Robert Massey, the president and owner of Oil Chem Inc., was sentenced last week after pleading guilty in January to violating the Clean Water Act, a federal law meant to protect water quality, The Flint Journal reported.

Oil Chem Inc. had a permit from the city of Flint under the Clean Water Act to discharge some industrial waste into the city’s sanitary sewers, which flow to a wastewater treatment plant before being released into the Flint River.

Court documents show that Massey directed his employees to illegally dispose of landfill leachate, which percolates through garbage and typically contains hazardous chemicals, through a hose from a tank to a sanitary sewer drain at the Oil Chem facility.

Those discharges occurred without treatment and over an eight-year period from 2007 to 2015, violating the company’s wastewater discharge permit, prosecutors said.

According to court documents, Massey signed and certified his company’s 2008 permit application but did not disclose that Oil Chem had been and would continue to receive landfill leachate.

Massey arranged for his chemical company to receive nearly 48 million gallons (182 million liters) of landfill leachate from eight landfills in Michigan and dump it without treatment into Flint’s sewers.

One of those landfills was found to have polychlorinated biphenyls in its landfill liquid. PCBs are known to have hazardous effects on human health and the environment.

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