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Attorney General's News Release

January 18, 2012

Attorney General Koster gets injunction against Lawrence County compost business for clean water and solid waste violations

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today his office has obtained a preliminary injunction shutting down an unauthorized composting facility in Lawrence County. The companies that operate the facility, Black Oak Organics, LLC and CHP Environmental, Inc., are owned by Craig Post and Alan Chappell. The court found evidence that both the companies and individuals violated Missouri’s Clean Water and Solid Waste Management Laws.

Koster said inspections by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) found that storm water at the facility becomes contaminated with organic matter when it flows over compost piles, sawdust piles, and asphalt shingles there. The storm water is then discharged to a tributary to Honey Creek, where it can seep into the groundwater table.

The facility composts food, vegetative, and certain construction wastes for three- to four-month periods and then sells the resulting mulch primarily for landscaping purposes.

DNR ordered the facility owners and operators to obtain a solid waste processing facility and clean water operating permit or shut down in August 2009. The owners and operators never obtained any environmental permits and continued operating as an unpermitted composting facility until Koster obtained a temporary restraining order shutting the facility down in November 2011.

The Court extended the relief granted in the temporary restraining order, which expires 14 days after issuance, in its preliminary injunction order.

The court has prohibited 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.

“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.”

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