Koster obtains TRO in clean water case

Bryan Cohen Nov. 29, 2011, 1:31pm


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Monday that his office has obtained a temporary restraining order against a Lawrence County compost business and its owners for alleged clean water violations.

The order was obtained against Black Oak Organics LLC, CHP Environmental Inc., and owners Craig Post and Alan Chappell for alleged violations of Missouri's Clean Water Law. Black Oak Organics and CHP Environmental operate a composting facility that composts food, vegetative and certain construction wastes and sells the resulting mulch for primarily landscaping purposes.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources allege that storm water flows over the compost piles, sawdust piles and asphalt shingles, becoming contaminated with organic matter. The water is then allegedly discharged to a receiving stream and then to Honey Creek, where it can seep into the groundwater table.

"We all must serve as stewards of our state's environmental integrity," Koster said. "Missouri understands this obligation and has passed laws to ensure that our rivers and streams remain unpolluted. This office will continue to enforce those laws aggressively."

The court barred the defendants from operating the composting facility, a solid waste disposal area or a solid waste processing facility until further orders are entered by the court. Koster had earlier filed a lawsuit against the defendants. The lawsuit seeks a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation of the Clean Water Law, as well as requiring the defendants to pay all case costs.

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