Injunction issued against Mo. composting facility

Bryan Cohen Jan. 18, 2012, 1:44pm


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced that his office obtained a preliminary injunction on Wednesday shutting down an allegedly unauthorized composting facility in Lawrence County.

The companies that operate the facility, CHP Environmental Inc. and Black Oak Organics LLC, are owned by Alan Chappell and Craig Post. Both companies and individuals allegedly violated Missouri's Solid Waste Management and Clean Water Laws.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources allegedly found that storm water at the facility was contaminated with organic matter when it flowed over the asphalt shingles, sawdust piles and compost piles there. The storm water then flowed back through a tributary to Honey Creek, where it seeped 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 facility composts vegetative, food and certain construction wastes for three to four month periods and then sells the resulting mulch for landscaping purposes. In August 2009, the DNR ordered the facility's operators and owners to obtain a solid waste processing facility and clean water operating permit or to shut down. The operators and owners allegedly did not obtain any environmental permits and continued to operate as an unpermitted composting facility until Koster obtained a temporary restraining order to shut the facility down in November.

The court extended the relief granted in the order, which expires 14 days after issuance, in the preliminary injunction order. The court has prohibited the defendants from operating the composting facility, a solid waste processing facility or a solid waste disposal area until the court enters further orders.

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