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Attorney General's News Release

September 26, 2011

Attorney General Koster sues Jefferson County business for clean water violations

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County against a business that owns a wastewater treatment facility alleging nine counts of violations of Missouri’s Clean Water Law.

Koster said Medley Hill Terrace Realty and Development Company in Jefferson County owns and previously operated a single-cell lagoon wastewater treatment system that served Lake Tamarack Subdivision in High Ridge. The company’s permit expired in 1998, and no application for renewal has been submitted. In 2010, the wastewater from the subdivision was diverted to a permitted treatment facility, but Medley Hill’s treatment facility continues to sit idle as it pollutes the state’s waters. When it rains, sludge and wastewater contaminants flow over the lagoon’s failing berms and contaminate the tributary to Sand Creek. Subdivision residents have complained of reeking odors emanating from the lagoon.

Koster’s lawsuit is filed against the company and its president, Rose Ficken, as well as landowners Eunice Jones, Bernadine R. Thomas and Diane H. Duke.

In addition, Department of Natural Resources inspections found that the company violated clean water regulations by:

  • exceeding permit limitations for Fecal Coliform , pH levels, and Biochemical Oxygen Demand;
  • failing to submit a closure plan to DNR to close the wastewater treatment facility;
  • removing the fence that formerly protected the treatment plant from children and pests;
  • operating without a permit and failing to apply for a renewal permit;
  • failing to submit quarterly discharge monitoring reports; and
  • failing to pay the annual permit fees for the treatment plant since 2000, currently totaling at least $42,000.

“Missourians have a right to expect that waste systems are operated in compliance with the law so they won’t pollute our water,” Koster said. “Our office will not look the other way when businesses fail to comply with the law.”

Koster is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction requiring the defendant to comply with the Clean Water Law; to deal immediately with the foul odor emitted by the lagoon; to assess a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 per day for each violation of the Clean Water Law; to assess permit fees, penalties and interest; and to require payment of all costs associated with the case.

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