Bluff Point Estates Homeowners' Association referred to Attorney General for wastewater violations at Lake of the Ozarks

For more information: 573-751-1010
Volume 37-404 For Immediate Release: Oct. 28, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY, MO.-- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today referred Bluff Point Estates Homeowner Association, located in Lake Ozark, to the Missouri Attorney General's Office to pursue legal action for violations of Missouri's Clean Water Law.

On Oct. 6 and 8, the department conducted inspections of the wastewater treatment facility serving Bluff Point Estates as part of the baseline study ordered by Gov. Jay Nixon in September. During the inspections, staff observed the ultraviolet disinfection equipment was not functioning properly. As part of the inspections, staff reviewed the terms and conditions of its operating permit. Staff discovered Bluff Point Estates failed to follow its schedule of compliance and name a valid continuing authority, which identifies a permanent organization responsible for operation and maintenance of a facility.

Bluff Point Estates HOA is required to upgrade its facility to meet ammonia as nitrogen effluent limits. In order to meet those limits, the department included a schedule of compliance in Bluff Point Estates' operating permit. The schedule included a timeline for the facility to submit a complete construction permit application, fee and engineering report to the department. Failure to follow the schedule of compliance and operate a facility without a valid continuing authority violates Missouri's Clean Water Law and Regulations. Due to the serious and continuous nature of these violations, the department has referred this matter directly to the Missouri State Attorney General's office for legal action.

Ammonia, at certain levels, is extremely toxic and can be lethal to aquatic life. The department establishes permit effluent limits that will protect water quality and beneficial uses of Missouri's streams, rivers and lakes. An operating permit also requires owners and operators of a permitted wastewater treatment facility to operate and maintain the facility so it can complies with permit effluent limits.

Missouri's Clean Water Law exists to protect public and environmental health and the department is responsible for enforcing the law and regulations.

The department's enforcement actions help protect human health and the environment by requiring facilities to maintain compliance. The department's main goal in any enforcement action is to work with a facility to successfully achieve compliance with the standards and then ensure they have the tools to remain in compliance. As part of that process, penalties may be used as an incentive to ensure future compliance and to remove the economic benefit of continued noncompliance.

The department strives to work with owners and operators to fix problems before an issue is referred. In situations where the responsible party is unwilling or unable to cooperate to bring the facility into compliance and be protective of human health and the environment, the department will refer the case to the Attorney General's Office for legal action.

For more information, contact the department's Water Protection Program at 573-751-1300 or call toll-free at 800-361-4827.