Waste executive accused of dumping 50 million gallons of landfill leachate into Flint, Michigan, sewers

Waste executive accused of dumping 50 million gallons of landfill leachate into Flint, Michigan, sewers

Robert Massey, president and owner of Oil Chem Inc., has been accused by federal prosecutors of knowingly violating the Clean Water Act.

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January 8, 2021

Robert Massey, president and owner of Flint, Michigan-based Oil Chem Inc., has been accused by federal prosecutors of illegally dumping 47.8 million gallons of liquid landfill leachate waste into Flint’s sewer system in a known violation of the Clean Water Act, mlive.com reports.

According to the company’s website, Oil Chem Inc. provides nonhazardous waste treatment services, chemical management, and recycled cutting oil services for various industries.

According to reports, Massey is charged with directing 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” from January 2007 to October 2015. At least on one occasion, waste was alleged to have contained PCBs.

Reports state that Massey had a wastewater discharge permit that allowed the company to dispose of treated oily wastewaters at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. However, the company did not have the authorization to dump landfill leachate, which it accepted from eight different landfills.

Oil Chem transportation manifests from the time detailed the contents and volume of leachate that was transported by tanker to the site.

Court records state that Oil Chem discharged “all or substantially all of the landfill leachate it received” around the close of business so that the waste could flow into the city’s sanitary sewer system overnight.

In 2016, the city of Flint cited Oil Chem with 30 infractions alleging misreporting of wastewater discharges as well as failure to report its handling of industrial wastewater. Also in 2016, authorities executed a search warrant at the site over beliefs that the company was improperly handling its industrial waste.

Massey is scheduled to appear Jan. 14 before the Eastern District of Michigan District Court in Flint for a plea hearing surrounding the charge.