News Release 282

Creek Auto Works referred to attorney general for hazardous waste violations

Volume 38-282 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, MAY 10, 2010 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources referred the case against a Springfield automotive collision repair facility to the Missouri Attorney General's Office to pursue civil penalties for violations of Missouri's Hazardous Waste Management Law.

The department referred Creek Auto Works to the attorney general alleging the business violated numerous hazardous waste storage and transportation requirements as well as emergency procedure and training requirements.

During a visit to the facility in late 2008, the department discovered the facility had accumulated a large amount of hazardous waste. Creek Auto Works was advised to properly dispose of the hazardous waste. The department performed two subsequent inspections and both times, the hazardous waste had not been properly disposed. The department issued a notice of violation on June 11, 2009.

Drums of flammable and toxic chemicals were stored in the open without a system in place to keep spills from escaping into the environment. Staff were not familiar with proper waste handling procedures. Lack of knowledge of hazardous waste management and emergency procedures can compromise the safety of employees and customers.

The department attempted to negotiate a settlement agreement with the facility, but Creek Auto Works stopped responding to the department’s efforts.

Due to the serious nature of these violations and the lack of response from the facility, the department referred this matter directly to the attorney general to compel compliance and to seek an appropriate civil penalty for the violations. The Missouri Constitution requires civil penalties to be paid to the school fund of the county in which the violation occurred.

With department oversight, the facility has returned to compliance.

Missouri's Hazardous Waste Management 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 main goal in any enforcement action is to work with a facility to successfully achieve compliance with the standards and then ensure it has the tools to remain in compliance. As part of that process, penalties may be used ensure future compliance by removing the economic benefit of continued noncompliance.

The department strives to work with owners and operators to fix problems before an issue is referred to the Attorney General's Office for legal action.

For more information, contact the department's Hazardous Waste Program at 573-751-3176 or call toll-free at 800-361-4827.