LENEXA, KS, June 3, 2016 -- EPA Region 7 has reached a proposed settlement of Clean Water Act violations by Organic Resource Management, Inc. (ORMI), and its parent company, St. Louis Composting, Inc. As part of the settlement, the companies have agreed to pay a cash penalty of $24,000, perform a Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) projected to cost the company $36,000, and retain a consultant to conduct compliance audits at its other facilities.
An EPA inspection found the ORMI facility in Fort Bellefontaine, Mo., discharged pollutants in excess of its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit limits into a tributary of Coldwater Creek. Coldwater Creek is currently on Missouri’s list of impaired waters for chlorides and E. coli. The facility was also found by EPA to be in violation of its permit for failure to submit and/or retain monitoring and inspection reports, failure to conduct required site inspections, and failure to submit annual reports.
To resolve the violations, the companies entered into administrative orders with EPA. Under one order, ORMI agreed to pay a $24,000 cash settlement and build stormwater retention basins to reduce or eliminate stormwater discharges at its Trojan Park development in Wellston, Mo. The park is part of a larger “urban greenway” development designed to build green spaces in underserved communities. The basins are designed to retain stormwater, reduce runoff from storm events, and serve as butterfly habitats.
Under a previous compliance order, St. Louis Composting, Inc., will retain a third-party consultant to perform compliance audits at each of the company’s six composting facilities in the St. Louis area. The consultant will evaluate compliance with NPDES permits and the Clean Water Act. St. Louis Composting, Inc., will submit a plan to EPA to address any noncompliance identified by the consultant.
The Clean Water Act seeks to protect streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources. Pollutants in stormwater can violate water quality standards, pose risks to human health, threaten aquatic life and its habitat, and impair the use and enjoyment of waterways. Protecting streams and wetlands is also part of adapting to climate change impacts like drought, stronger storms, and warmer temperatures.
The cash penalty settlement with ORMI is subject to a 40-day public comment period before it becomes final.