News Release 455

Missouri Clean Water Commission referred four cases to Attorney General for enforcement action

Volume 37-455 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Renee Bungart
573-751-4465

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 1, 2009 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Clean Water Commission referred four Missouri entities to the Missouri Attorney General's Office for legal action for violations of Missouri's Clean Water Law and Regulations. The department contacted the owners of these sites multiple times, but has not received an adequate response.

The commission, at its Nov. 4 meeting in Jefferson City, voted to refer the cases to the Attorney General's Office to compel compliance and to seek an appropriate civil penalty for violations at the site.

The department has asked the Attorney General to take enforcement actions against:

Black Oak Organics -- Black Oak Organics LLC is located off Lawrence Farm Road 2170 near Verona in Lawrence County. Black Oak Organics operates a composting facility that utilizes an existing borrow pit as a storm water retention basin which collects process waste water flows and Stormwater discharges from the organic compost piles, sawdust piles and asphalt shingles. Since June 2007, department staff have conducted several investigations of the composting facility and observed Stormwater contaminated with leachate flowing from the compost piles to the retention basin and discharging into waters of the state. During these investigations, the department found the receiving stream had noticeable impacts as a result of the discharge from the basin, including dark, discolored and stagnant water.

Hillcrest Mobile Home Court - consists of approximately 30 mobile homes located in Pettis County. Wastewater from the court is treated by a single-cell facultative lagoon with a design population of 55 and design flow of 2,250 gallons per day. Effluent from the lagoon discharges to a tributary to Flat Creek. During one inspection, the department observed erosion damage along the lagoon berm, evidence of untreated wastewater bypassing the lagoon, and sludge deposits extending approximately 50 feet from the base of the lagoon berm. Hillcrest Mobile Home Court's Missouri State Operating Permit expired on May 1, 2008, and to date, the department has not received a complete renewal application.

Hummingbird Hills Subdivision -- D2 Construction LLC, was developing a subdivision of approximately 5 acres known as Hummingbird Hills located in St. Robert, Pulaski County. Stormwater from Hummingbird Hills discharges to a tributary to Gillis Hollow according to its Missouri State Operating Permit. Since March 24, the department has conducted two inspections of the subdivision. During these inspections, staff observed best management practices were not in place resulting in sediment erosion and sediment deposits up to 100 yards downstream in the receiving stream. Since April 20, the department has issued two notices of violations to D2 Construction as a result of violations observed during site inspections.

Northern Heights Estates Subdivision -- 4J Land & Cattle Company owns and operates the Northern Heights Estates Subdivision Wastewater Treatment Facility located in Pulaski County. The facility serves approximately 180 residences in the subdivision. Wastewater generated by these homes is treated by septic tanks and a recirculating sand filter. Effluent from the treatment facility discharges to a losing tributary to the Gasconade River according to its operating permit. Since September 2008, the department has conducted two inspections of the subdivision and reviewed the quarterly Discharge Monitoring Reports. A review of the files indicates that effluent discharging from the subdivisions' wastewater treatment facility has chronically exceeded the permitted effluent limitations for fecal coliform, biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids as required by its operating permit. Staff also found the company has constructed sewer extensions to serve additional homes without department approved construction permit and documented the collection system is hydraulically overloaded. The company has also failed to conduct operational control testing as required by its operating permit.

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 a deterrent 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 the issue is brought to the commission. In situations where the responsible party is unwilling or unable to cooperate to bring the facilities into compliance and be protective of human health and the environment, the department will refer the cases to the Attorney General's Office for legal action.

Additional information about the commission, including supporting documents related to this compliance case, is available on the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/cwc. For more information contact the department's Water Protection Program at 573-751-1300 or call toll-free at 800-361-4827.

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