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Attorney General's News Release

June 28, 2010

Attorney General Koster sues Lawrence County compost business for clean water violations

Jefferson City, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit against Black Oak Organics, LLC, CHP Environmental, Inc., and owners Craig Post and Alan Chappell for violations of Missouri's Clean Water Law.

Koster said Black Oak Organics and CHP Environmental operate a composting facility in Lawrence County. The facility composts food and construction waste and sells the resulting mulch primarily for landscaping purposes.

Koster said inspections by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found that stormwater flows over the compost piles, sawdust piles, and asphalt shingles, becoming contaminated with organic matter. It is then discharged to a receiving stream and then to Honey Creek, where it can seep into the groundwater table.

Koster said his office contacted the defendants with a proposed settlement agreement to resolve the violations, but the defendants refused to settle.

"The defendants were given the opportunity to correct violations of Missouri's clean water laws," Koster said "This office will aggressively pursue those who show disregard for our environmental laws."

Koster is asking the court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions requiring the defendants to comply with the Clean Water Law; to assess a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation of the Clean Water Law; and to require the defendants to pay all costs associated with the case.

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