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E-M:/ US Liquids "Apology" -- questions linger

Below is the text of the Federal Court-required half page Public Apology from US Liquids, placed in the Saturday, combined Detroit News and Detroit Free Press edition, 12-28-2002, page 7D,  which is in the entertainment section.

In August of 1999, five employees of USL-City Environmental, whose plant is located on Frederick Street in Detroit,  had admitted to dumping daily,  for up to 2 years, 20,000 to 100,000 gallons of untreated hazardous materials,  including PCB's and corrosive acidic materials into Detroit's sewers. Anthony Suave sold the company to USL in May of  1998.

The background was reported in the Detroit Free Press, November 14, 2002: http://www.freep.com/news/locway/fine14_20021114.htm

“The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department... tests its sewers during one week of each month. Witnesses allege that the USL plant manager ordered them to remove sampling monitors from the sewer lines during that time. The plant would sometimes avoid discharging hazardous liquids during the sampling week, they said.

"Employees said the plant provided faked water samples to a laboratory for testing and gave samples of plain sand and dirt to the landfills for testing, instead of samples of the hazardous materials they were actually dumping. USL employees falsified logs to make it appear that proper procedures had been followed, they alleged…” FP 8-26-1999

There are still questions that linger. The Free Press story begs for  amplification:
1. Why did no one go to jail?

2. What happened to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department employees who were supposed to read the monitors that were systematically tampered or removed?  Are they will serving  the City?

3. Why is the MDEQ not listed in the Apology as a member of  the Multi-agency Environmental Crimes Task Force? It was part of the raid on August 25, 1999.

Blair J. Mc Gowan


US Liquids of Detroit, Inc. recently pleaded guilty to illegally transporting hazardous waste on August 25, 1999, and illegally discharging refuse between August 1 and August 25, 1999, after being prosecuted by the United States : Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. U.S. Liquids of Detroit, Inc. operates a waste treatment and disposal facility located in Detroit, Michigan, which accepted hazardous and non-hazardous waste from various waste generators.

The waste was supposed to be treated and disposed of properly. We failed to do that.

As a result, US Liquids of Detroit, Inc. was sentenced to pay a $4,500,000 fine and contribute $1,000,000 to Friends of  the Rouge and the Greater Detroit American Heritage River Initiative, with such contributions to be used for conserving, restoring and protecting the watershed of the Detroit River.

Since. the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Criminal Investigation Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation execute a search warrant at US Liquids of Detroit, Inc. on August 25-26, 1999, we have made significant improvements at our facility, including investing approximately $2,500,000 to improve our waste treatment capabilities, and to enhance our corporate environmental compliance program, and now are properly treating all waste delivered to our facility .

A condition of the sentence was that we publish this public apology .We regret the actions of US Liquids of Detroit, Inc., and hope that our entry of a guilty plea and sentence will be a lesson that the environment and the laws that protect it must be respected.

US Liquids of Detroit, Inc.

The Multi-agency Environmental Crimes Task Force investigates and prosecutes environmental crimes in Eastern Michigan, and consists of the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Michigan Attorney General's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency -Criminal Investigation Division, the United States Coast Guard, the United States Customs Service, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

The hotline to report environmental crimes to the Task Force is: (734) 692- 7650.