News Release 020

Missouri Clean Water Commission refers two cases to Attorney General for enforcement action

Volume 38-020 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer
573-751-3807

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, JAN. 19, 2010 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Clean Water Commission referred two Missouri entities to the Missouri Attorney General's Office to pursue legal action for violations of Missouri's Clean Water Law and Regulations.

The commission, at its Jan. 6 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 contacted the owners of these sites multiple times, but has not received an adequate response.

The department has referred two cases, one against a private utilities company and one against a municipality, to the Attorney General to take enforcement actions:

Terre Du Lac Utilities Corporation, St. Francois County -- The company owns and operates three wastewater treatment facilities that serve the private community of Terre Du Lac. Wastewater generated from the residential homes is either treated by an oxidation ditch with chlorination, a three-cell lagoon, or a single cell lagoon. Since August 2006, the department has conducted two inspections of Terre Du Lac, finding wastewater bypassing each of the three treatment facilities and discharging into waters of the state: the water from the oxidation ditch was discharging into a tributary to Big River; the water from the three-cell lagoon discharging into Three Hill Creek; and the discharge from the single-cell lagoon discharging into a tributary to Cabanne Course.

Staff also observed sludge in the clarifier of the oxidation ditch; duckweed covering the cells of the two wastewater lagoons; and excessive vegetation surrounding the oxidation ditch and covering the berms of the lagoons. In addition, the corporation does not have a certified operator for the daily operation and maintenance of all facilities; has not submitted discharge monitoring reports since August 2008; and has violated the schedules of compliance contained in all the operating permits. Furthermore, the corporation has also failed to conduct operational control testing as required by its operating permits.

City of Carterville, Jasper County -- The city is subject to Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Service (MS4) permitting requirements because it is within the City of Joplin Urbanized Area as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The MS4 permitting program is a federal and state regulated program that requires regions outside of urbanized areas with populations of at least 10,000 or densities of at least 1,000 per square mile to develop and maintain a program to reduce the amount of pollutants that discharge into waters of the state from Stormwater runoff within its jurisdiction, protect water quality, and meet the requirements of the Missouri Clean Water Law and its implementing regulations. Since August 27, 2008, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has sent letters and email correspondence requesting Carterville submit a complete MS4 renewal application and 2007 annual progress report. To date, the department has not received a response.

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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