A mid-Michigan businessman has pleaded guilty to dumping untreated waste into Flint’s sewer system.
Robert Massey, president and owner of Oil Chem, Inc., pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. The charge stems from illegal discharges of landfill leachate, totaling more than 47 million gallons, into Flint’s sewer system. It happened over an eight-and-a-half year period, the Justice Department said.
The Flint company processed and discharged industrial wastewaters to the city’s sewer system, the Justice Department said.
“Protecting Michigan’s water is one of the most important and sacred things we can do,” stated United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “The actions of the defendant were done with total disregard for the Flint River and the environment. Fortunately for the people of Flint, these contaminants did not end up in their drinking water, because the discharge point was several miles downstream of the drinking water intake. This case should stand as a warning to other businesses that they will face criminal charges for this kind of pollution.”
The dumping occurred from January 2007 through October 2015, according to the Justice Department.
The charges carry penalties of up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 to $50,000 per day of violation.
Massey is scheduled to be sentenced May 14.
“The Clean Water Act is our Nation’s law for protecting the quality of the waters of the United States, and the health of people who rely on those waters. The criminal conduct here violated the Act and Oil Chem’s permit,” said Jonathan D. Brightbill, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Robert Massey ignored clear legal prohibitions and requirements in the interest of generating more revenue for his company. He knew better and should have done better. The outcome of this case will deter others, and hopefully chart a new course for this company.”