Crime & Courts

SC man dumped tankers of poisonous liquids into Richland creek, indictment alleges

John Monk

A tanker truck driver for a Lexington waste disposal company has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly dumping thousands of gallons of poisonous liquid waste into a rural creek in Lower Richland County near the Wateree River.

Michael Greene, an employee of A&D Environmental, Inc., was charged with “knowingly” and repeatedly dumping liquid waste that contained toxic metals such as lead, mercury, selenium, cadmium and chromium into Leesburg Branch Creek near Eastover, which is close to the Richland-Sumter county line, the federal indictment said. The charge carries up to three years in prison and a maximum $250,000 fine.

A&D Environmental told The State Friday Greene is no longer with the company and that if the charges are true, Greene acted without the company’s knowledge.

The indictment, issued this week by a federal grand jury in Columbia, said Greene’s preferred dumping site was near the intersection of Leesburg Road and S.C. Highway 601 in Eastover, a small town of some 800 people.

Greene discharged the waste “by backing his truck into the area off Westvaco Road ..., hooking a hose up to the back of his truck, and allowing the leachate to flow into the creek,” the indictment said.

Leachate is liquid waste that leaks or seeps from landfills. It can contain elevated levels of toxic or other undesirable substances. Lead and mercury, which were allegedly part of Greene’s illegal waste dumping, are especially are known to cause great harm to humans.

It took “approximately 15-20 minutes” to dump Greene’s tanker, the indictment said. His truck could carry about 5,800 gallons.

The indictment doesn’t say exactly how much leachate Greene dumped into the creek. But it says that Greene dumped the waste two or three times a week, “typically in the morning,” between May and July of 2017.

Greene was supposed to be taking his tanker truck to a Florence wastewater treatment plant, approximately 90 minutes away, where it could be properly treated, the indictment said.

His employer had a contract with Republic Services to take the waste from Republic’s nearby landfill to the Florence Regional Wastewater Management Facility.

A&D Environmental Services chief operating officer Ron Meeks said Friday in a statement that Greene no longer works at the company.

“A&D is aware of the indictment of Mr. Greene and is cooperating fully with the authorities on the investigation ... If the allegations against Mr. Greene are true and accurate, he acted on his own accord and without A&D’s knowledge. Because this is an ongoing investigation, A&D cannot provide any further information at this time.”