Penalties include $200,000 fine.
The Dave Matthews Band will be keeping a log for the next five years of each place, date and time its tour buses dispose of human waste as part of a settlement reached with the state of Illinois.
Illinois attorney general Lisa Madigan announced on Friday (April 29) that she reached an agreement with the band over an August 2004 lawsuit, which claimed the band’s tour bus operator dumped its septic tank, holding 80 to 100 gallons of raw sewage, from a bridge into the Chicago River and onto tour boat passengers looking upward at the city’s architecture.
The suit claimed that Dave Matthews Band Inc. and its employee, Stefan Wohl, polluted the water and endangered public health by drenching boat passengers, who included “a person with disabilities, senior citizens, a pregnant woman, an infant and a small child,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement. The band fired the driver.
According to the suit, the band stayed at a Chicago hotel while performing in East Troy, Wis., during the weekend of Aug. 7 and 8 last year. They leased five busses from Four Seasons Coach Leasing in Lebanon, Tenn. Bus driver Wohl flicked a switch behind his seat, dumping the waste on a Sunday afternoon while crossing the Kinzie Street Bridge in Chicago, the suit claimed.
In addition to keeping the log, the band will pay $200,000 and will be required to follow written procedures, approved by the attorney general, for disposing of its buses’ waste tanks in the future.
“This settlement is reasonable and appropriate given the public and environmental health threats caused by this foul incident,” Madigan said. “It also sends a message that no one is above the laws of our state.”
The band’s representatives could not be reached for comment.