May 11, 2010
St. Joseph, Mo. - Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit in Buchanan County against Oak Mill, Inc., a St. Joseph vegetable oil reclamation facility, for polluting Whitehead Creek and failing to comply with the terms of a 2008 settlement agreement.
Koster said soybean oil producers periodically clean out their oil tanks. Oak Mill obtains the clean-out byproducts from soybean oil producers to recover usable soybean oil for use in animal feed products.
Koster said the lawsuit claims Oak Mill discharged contaminated stormwater into Whitehead Creek. Missouri Department of Natural Resources inspections showed that stormwater runoff on the defendant's property had elevated biochemical oxygen demand levels and oil and grease levels. Oak Mill also failed to have the permits required by law for operation. Koster said the company in 2008 entered into a settlement agreement to resolve its prior violations of the Clean Water Law. Oak Mill failed to comply with the terms of the agreement and has continued to discharge contaminated stormwater from its facility.
"We all must serve as stewards of our state's environmental integrity," 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 Oak Mill 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 defendant to pay all costs associated with the case. In addition, Koster is asking the court to require Oak Mill to meet its obligations under the settlement agreement and order payment of penalties stipulated in the agreement.