Owner of Oil Chem Inc. sentenced for illegal dumping of waste into Flint sewer system

Officials say 70-year-old Robert Massey violated Clean Water Act, dumping more than 47 million gallons of landfill leachate

Chemical company accused of illegally dumping truckloads of waste in Flint sewers
Chemical company accused of illegally dumping truckloads of waste in Flint sewers (WDIV)

FLINT, Mich. – The owner of Oil Chem Inc. has been sentenced to one year in prison following an investigation of illegal discharging of landfill leachate into Flint’s sanitary sewer system.

Officials said 70-yer-old Robert Massey, of Brighton, pled guilty on Jan. 14 to violating the Clean Water Act. Court records stated that Massey’s company, Flint-based Oil Chem Inc., processed and discharged industrial wastewaters to the city’s sewer system.

READ: Chemical company accused of illegally dumping truckloads of waste into Flint sewer system

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, more than 47 million gallons of waste was illegally dumped over an eight and a half year period.

Officials said that from January 2007 to October 2015, Massey arranged for Oil Chem Inc. to receive 47,824,293 gallons of landfill leachate from eight different landfills in Michigan -- one of which was found to have polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in its leachate. Additionally, Massey signed and certified the company’s 2008 permit application but failed to disclose that it had planned to continue to receive landfill leachete, dumping into the sewers untreated.

While the company held a Clean Water Act permit allowing it to discharge certain industrial wastes within permit limitations, it was prohibited from discharging landfill leachate waste.

Officials said Massey instructed his employees to dump the leachate at closing of the business each day, allowing the waste to flow to the sanitary sewer overnight. The plant’s discharge point for treated wastewater was downstream of the location where drinking was taken from the Flint River from 2014 to 2015.


About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.