News Release 477

Larry Owens referred to the Attorney General for enforcement action for Missouri Clean Water Law violations

Volume 37-477 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Renee Bungart

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, DEC. 10, 2009-- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources today referred Larry Owens, d.b.a. the Casa De Loco Winery, located in Camden County, to the Missouri Attorney General's Office to pursue legal action for wastewater violations. Owens constructed and was operating a wastewater treatment facility without a Missouri State Operating Permit which is in violation of the Missouri Clean Water Law and its implementing regulations.

On Aug. 28, 2008 and Sept. 9, 2009, the department conducted inspections of the wastewater treatment facility serving the Casa De Loco Winery. During these inspections, staff observed Owens was operating without a Missouri State Operating Permit. Staff also observed the treatment facility is in complete disrepair, completely covered with vegetation and severe corrosion throughout the treatment facility causing several of the operational units to malfunction.

The Missouri 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 future violations 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.