The owner of Flint, Michigan-based Oil Chem Inc. has been sentenced to 12 months of imprisonment for dumping millions of gallons of landfill liquid into nearby sewers, reports MLive.com.
Robert J. Massey, owner and president of the chemical company, had previously been accused by federal prosecutors in December of knowingly polluting Flint sewers with 47 million gallons of untreated landfill liquid coming from eight landfills.
Massey pleased guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, a federal law meant to protect water quality, in January.
According to MLive.com, court documents show Massey directed “his employees to dispose of the landfill leachate through a hose from a tank to a sanitary sewer drain located at the Oil Chem facility, without treatment and in violation of Oil Chem’s wastewater discharge permit.” These actions occurred over an eight-year period from 2007 to 2015.
Oil Chem had a city permit under the Clean Water Act to discharge some industrial waste within the permit limits. The discharge point of the plant for treated wastewater was downstream of where drinking water was taken from the Flint River in 2014 and 2015. Oil Chem’s permit did not allow the discharge of landfill leachate waste.
As reported by MLive.com, Massey “signed and certified the chemical company’s 2008 permit application and did not disclose that Oil Chem had been and would continue to receive landfill leachate, which it discharged into the sewers without treatment.”
Massey arranged for the chemical company to receive over 47 million gallons of landfill leachate from eight landfills in Michigan. One landfill was found to have polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in its landfill liquid, which are known to have hazardous effects on human health and the environment.