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Attorney General's News Release

November 28, 2011

Attorney General Koster gets restraining order against Lawrence County compost business for clean water violations

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today his office has obtained a temporary restraining order 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, vegetative, and certain construction wastes and sells the resulting mulch primarily for landscaping purposes.

Koster said inspections by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found that storm water 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.

“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.”

Koster said the court has barred the defendants from operating the composting facility, a solid waste disposal area, or a solid waste processing facility until further orders are entered by the court. Koster earlier filed a lawsuit against the defendants and is seeking a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation of the Clean Water Law, as well as requiring the defendants to pay all costs associated with the case.

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