March 10, 2005
Springfield, Mo. — A Springfield man today pleaded guilty to dumping a 50,000 gallon mix of spoiled molasses and water that polluted freshwater springs in northwest Greene County in a case prosecuted by Attorney General Jay Nixon.
Stephen Lindsey admitted he violated Missouri's Clean Water Law by unlawfully discharging a water contaminant from a point source, a misdemeanor. Under the plea entered in Greene County Circuit Court, he will pay $6,000 to a nearby landowner for the fish that were killed by the discharge, serve two days shock detention in the Greene County Jail, and serve two years probation.
"As Missourians, the beauty of our Ozark springs and the purity of our water supply is part of our birthright," Nixon said. "Criminal prosecution of this case sends a message that we will aggressively enforce our environmental laws in our efforts to protect the health and safety of all Missourians."
On July 10, 2004, a landowner about two miles from Lindsey's property contacted the state Department of Natural Resources after he noticed that two freshwater springs located on his property were discharging reddish-brown water, killing hundreds of fish in his ponds. The spring water eventually runs into nearby Clear Creek.
Investigators discovered that Purina Mills in Springfield had hired Lindsey's company, German Septic Service, to dispose of 50,000 gallons of spoiled molasses mixed with rain water. Instead of taking the molasses to a treatment facility, Lindsey dumped it into a sinkhole that is connected to the springs.
Lindsey was charged with a misdemeanor for the dumping, the most severe criminal charge allowed under Missouri's Clean Water Law.