May 17, 2007
Harrisonville, Mo. — A lagoon that discharges untreated and partially treated sewage from a nearby subdivision near Belton must be replaced or the subdivision must be connected to an available nearby sewer system, Attorney General Jay Nixon demanded in a lawsuit filed today. Either way, Nixon said, the pollution from the lagoon must stop.
Nixon is suing the current and previous homeowners associations for the Olson Acres subdivision for violating Missouri clean water laws by operating an unpermitted wastewater treatment and collection facility and by allowing sewage to pollute a nearby tributary of West Fork Creek. The lawsuit filed in Cass County Circuit Court names the New Olson Acres Corp. and its predecessor, the Olson Acres Homeowners’ Corporation, as defendants.
The subdivision’s sewer system was operated by the Olson Acres Homeowners’ Corp. in May of 1996 when its permit to operate the wastewater collection and treatment system issued by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources expired. Nixon says the permit was never renewed, and the DNR has issued three notices of violation because of pollution from the subdivision’s lagoon. Despite numerous attempts to get the homeowners associations to bring the sewer system into compliance over the past decade, raw sewage was observed surfacing in the subdivision as recently as April 12 of this year.
“A situation as unsafe and hazardous as this subdivision has become to its residents is clearly not acceptable, and those who have served on the homeowners’ associations must bear some responsibility,” Nixon said. “It is imperative that the sewer systems are immediately upgraded and brought into compliance with state clean water laws after too many years of delays.”
Nixon’s lawsuit requests that the court order the defendants to repair any leaking sewer lines that serve the subdivision; submit a report prepared by a professional engineer that recommends upgrades or replacement of the current system; and obtain a construction permit and complete construction of the upgrades or new system within 270 days of the court’s order.
Alternatively, Nixon’s lawsuit requests that court order the defendants to lawfully connect the subdivision to another available local sewer system within 60 days of the court order; close the sewage lagoon using an approved closure plan within 180 days of the order; and pump and haul wastewater from the lagoon to a permitted wastewater treatment facility.
In addition, the lawsuit calls for the defendants to pay an appropriate civil penalty and all attorney’s fees, costs and expenses incurred by the state in the case.