Michigan polluter ordered to jail for illegally discharging untreated waste

By Eric Freedman

A federal judge has sentenced a Flint, Michigan, polluter to one year behind bars for illegally discharging more than 47 million gallons of untreated waste into the city’s sewer system. Robert Massey, the 70-year-old president and owner of family-owned Oil Chem Inc., pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act over an 8½ year period between 2007 and 2015. “That amounts to over 72 Olympic-size swimming pools. The crime was driven by greed. Oil Chem received over a million dollars to dispose of the (material),” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in its sentencing memorandum to U.S. District Judge Stephanie Davis.

Lead poisoning is statewide, help is not

Federal authorities offer a handful of grants each year to provide lead abatement services, but because the competition is so fierce, they go to bigger metropolitan areas. Rural communities are left to fend for themselves to address lead problems that cause a myriad of serious health effects.