June 16, 2010
Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have reached a settlement with Lafarge North America Inc., headquartered in Virginia, for violating the state's Clean Water Law.
Koster said Lafarge owns an inactive underground limestone mine in Jackson County comprised of a network of excavated caverns. In 1996, DNR issued Lafarge a permit authorizing them to stabilize the underground mine caverns and the surface of the mine site by injecting coal fly ash slurry - a solid waste - into the excavated caverns and into surface depressions caused by cavern collapses. In February 2008, Lafarge was injecting the slurry into the mine when the point of injection became clogged and at least 1,300 tons of slurry ran over the ground and into the tributary of Mill Creek, then into Mill Creek at a distance of at least two miles.
Under the settlement agreement, Lafarge will pay $140,000 in civil penalties and natural resource damages and $10,491 to reimburse the state for the cost of the investigation. In addition, Lafarge will pay future costs incurred by the state to investigate, respond, and monitor the cleanup of the contamination. Lafarge also will complete restoration of Mill Creek and the Mill Creek tributary areas by August 1.
"We all must serve as stewards of our state's environmental integrity," Koster said. "Missouri understands this obligation and has passed laws to ensure that our rivers and streams remain unpolluted. This office will continue to enforce those laws aggressively."