April 19, 2006
Linn, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon has asked the Osage County Circuit Court to issue a preliminary injunction and assess penalties under the Missouri Clean Water Law against the developers of a subdivision in Linn who have failed to properly maintain its wastewater lagoon, leading to pollution in a nearby creek.
Nixon's lawsuit alleges that brothers Michael and Mark Kuster, developers of the Green Acres Subdivision in Linn, own the property where the three-cell wastewater lagoon that serves the subdivision is located. The defendants allowed their state operating permit for the lagoon to expire in 2002, and have violated the Missouri Clean Water Law by failing to correct the lagoon's deficiencies, resulting in the discharge of contaminants into a tributary to Owens Creek. The facility's entrance gate is also damaged and does not prevent unauthorized access and lacks an all-weather access road for year-round maintenance.
The defendants had previously entered into a contract with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to get their lagoon into compliance with state regulations in 1998, but failed to live up to their obligations by either upgrading the wastewater system to meet legal standards or connecting it to a regional or municipal sewer system.
Nixon is asking the court to order the defendants to immediately come into compliance with Missouri laws and regulations pertaining to protecting the waters of the state; to declare that the defendants are in breach of their contract with DNR and must provide specific performance of their obligations under the contract; to order the defendants to pay a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation per day for each day the defendants allowed violations of the Missouri Clean Water Law; and to order the defendants to pay $5,280 to the state to cover the annual operating fees that they neglected to pay since February 2000.