Missouri Attorney General Sues 10 Firms for Polluting Lake of the Ozarks

Categories: Environment, News
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Lake of the Ozark's water. So refreshing!
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that he is filing suit against ten businesses for violations of the Missouri Clean Water Law. All ten businesses allegedly discharged pollutants into Lake of the Ozarks or its nearby tributaries.

The lawsuits follow a brouhaha last summer in which state officials were slow to close a popular beach at Lake of the Ozarks after reports found dangerous amounts of E. Coli in the water.

"Violations of our Clean Water Laws are not acceptable," Koster said. "Stopping pollution in Missouri's lakes, rivers, and streams is a priority of the Attorney General's office. We will continue to take aggressive legal action against those who violate Missouri's Clean Water Laws."

The individuals and companies sued by Koster include:
1. James R. Robinson, who owns a wastewater treatment facility in Sunrise Beach, is cited for operating without a permit and potentially causing contaminants to pollute the Lake of the Ozarks. Inspections by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources found Robinson's sand filter to be completely covered in vegetation, the chlorine applicator tube to be without chlorine tablets, and water seeping from the ground below the treatment facility. Koster is asking the court to issue permanent injunctions prohibiting Robinson from further violations of the Missouri Clean Water Law and requiring him to repair and maintain the wastewater treatment plant, to pay a civil penalty of $10,000 per day for each violation of the Clean Water Law, and to pay costs associated with the case.

2. Niangua Vista Condominiums Owner's Association operates a wastewater treatment facility that serves the Niangua Vista Condominium Subdivision in Camdenton. The business failed to renew its operating permit with the Department of Natural Resources, as required by law; failed to submit required discharge monitoring reports; and potentially allowing raw or partially treated sewage to run off into the Lake of the Ozarks. At least one sample showed fecal coliform present at a level above the daily maximum limit. Koster is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction requiring the business to comply with the Clean Water Law; to assess a civil penalty of $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.

3. Casa de Loco, LLC owns and operates a winery with overnight accommodations in Camdenton. Wastewater from the winery is treated by a wastewater treatment facility. Effluent from the facility discharges to Weaver Creek, a tributary of the Niangua River. During a complaint inspection, the Department of Natural Resources discovered that the wastewater treatment facility was being operated without a permit. DNR offered the company to enter into a voluntary Schedule of Compliance with the owner, but no agreement was reached. Koster is asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting Casa de Loco from operating its winery until all violations of the Clean Water Law have been corrected; 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.

4. Big Bear Resort Condominiums Association, Inc. owns and operates a wastewater treatment facility that serves Big Bear Resort Condominiums near the Lake of the Ozarks in Camden County. Big Bear's permit requires that it submit discharge monitoring reports related to the wastewater discharged into the Lake of the Ozarks and that it install a dechlorination system to upgrade the wastewater treatment facility. Big Bear failed to comply with either requirement. Koster is asking the court to issue permanent injunctions prohibiting Big Bear from further violations of the Clean Water Law and requiring that they install a dechlorination system; to assess a civil penalty of $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.

5. Michael Petrovich, president of Grandview Amenities, Inc., developed a condominium project at Lake Ozark. The condominium's wastewater is treated by a wastewater treatment system owned by Grandview. The Department of Natural Resources found that the company has permitted raw or partially treated sewage to exit the facility. At least one sample showed fecal coliform present at a level above the daily maximum limit. The company also failed to obtain a permit to modify the treatment facility and failed to adequately treat the wastewater to prevent the discharge of discolored and solid-containing water. Koster is asking the court to require the company to pump and haul wastewater from the wastewater treatment facility and to bring the facility into compliance with the Missouri Clean Water law; to assess a civil penalty of $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.

6. Thomas Shoemaker, of ABBA Development Co., LLC, developed a condominium project, Reflections Condominiums, in Camdenton and constructed a wastewater treatment facility to treat wastewater at Reflections. Shoemaker allowed untreated wastewater to potentially enter the Lake of the Ozarks and failed to correct structural deficiencies in the treatment facility. Koster is asking the court to issue a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctions prohibiting the company from violating Missouri's Clean Water Laws and requiring immediate repair and upgrade of the wastewater treatment facility; to assess a civil penalty of $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.

7.Coconuts at the Lake, LLC, owns Coconuts Caribbean Bar and Grill, a restaurant and resort facility in Gravois Mills. The bar and grill's wastewater treatment facility discharges into the Lake of the Ozarks. The Department of Natural Resources found that the company has potentially permitted raw or partially treated sewage to run off into the Lake of the Ozarks. At least one sample showed fecal coliform present at a level above the daily maximum limit. The company also allowed a buildup of waste sludge in the treatment facility, which prevents waste from being processed and treated adequately. Koster is asking the court to issue preliminary and permanent restraining orders prohibiting the company from operating the bar and grill until all violations of the Clean Water Law have been corrected; to assess a civil penalty of $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.

8. Clayton H. Fink, organizer and registered agent for Hawthorne Trace Homes Association, LLC, constructed a wastewater treatment facility that serves Hawthorne Trace Subdivision in Laurie. At least one sample from the facility showed fecal coliform present at a level above the daily maximum limit. The company also failed to maintain a functional ultraviolet disinfection system, failed to submit timely discharge monitoring reports, and failed to submit engineering reports, as required by law. Koster is asking the court to issue permanent injunctions prohibiting the defendants from further violations of the Clean Water Law and requiring defendants to immediately submit engineering reports; to assess a civil penalty of $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.

9. Steve Van Lerberg operates a wastewater treatment system that serves the Van's Mill Creek Point Subdivision in Gravois Mills. The business failed to renew its operating permit with the Department of Natural Resources, as required by law; failed to submit required discharge monitoring reports; failed to meet effluent limits; and failed to post a warning signs warning the public against unauthorized entrance into the wastewater treatment facility, as required by law. Koster is asking the court to issue permanent injunctions prohibiting the defendants from further violations of the Clean Water Law and requiring upgrade of the facility to comply with the law; to assess a civil penalty of $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.

10. Geri A. Gillespie, who owns and operates the Double M Mobile Coach Ranch in Warsaw. The wastewater at Double M is treated by a wastewater treatment facility that discharges into tributaries of the Lake of the Ozarks. At least one sample from the facility showed fecal coliform present at a level above the daily maximum limit. In addition, the three lagoons at Double M have significantly eroded and continuously overflowed, potentially causing pollution of the lake, and timely discharge monitoring reports have not been submitted. Koster is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from any further violations of the Clean Water Law; to assess a civil penalty of $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.



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