Advance Notice: Briefs

Nessel takes action against chemical company for Flint River pollution

By: - September 25, 2022 3:54 am

Flint River | Susan J. Demas

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel and the Department of Environment Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) have taken action against a Flint chemical company after identifying pollution in the Flint River. 

On Monday, Nessel and EGLE ordered Lockhart Chemical Co. to stop its use of defective storm and wastewater systems to pump water off site for disposal. 

EGLE investigations confirmed wastewater leaked from Lockhart tunnels into the ground under the facility into a storm sewer beneath the tunnels, then into the Flint River. The department analyzed the wastewater within Lockhart’s facility and matched it with wastewater found in the sewer system and discharged wastewater in the Flint River.

According to EGLE, the order comes after Lockhart failed to address required fixes to its infrastructure and operations, despite multiple requests and directives from EGLE.

“EGLE tried to get Lockhart to play by the rules that apply to all businesses that handle and use chemicals like this, but the ongoing problems and Lockhart’s poor track record of compliance indicated that swift action was needed to prevent another discharge into the river, or worse,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark in a statement.

In addition to requiring Lockhart to end its use of specific underground tunnels, the company is also required to pump its wastewater into above ground tanks for disposal unless it implements approved fixes like lining the tunnels and other parts of the wastewater system. 

The company is also required to put protective structures around leaking pumps and to provide photos of its progress to meet the order’s requirements. 

Lockhart was served the order by the Genesee County sheriff and the Department of the Attorney General. 

“I made a promise to the residents of Flint that I will not stand by and allow any entity to endanger the health, safety or welfare of the community,” Nessel said in a statement.

“This company was given multiple opportunities to fix the problems at their facility and they refused. Now they must face the consequences.”  

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Kyle Davidson
Kyle Davidson

Kyle Davidson is a reporting intern for the Michigan Advance. A recent MSU graduate, Kyle studied journalism and political science. He has reported on community events, breaking news, state policy, and the environment for outlets including the Lansing State Journal, the Detroit Free Press and Capital News Service.