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November 8, 2011

Judge Penalizes Blairsburg Company for Eddyville Composting Facility Wastewater Discharge

(OTTUMWA, Iowa)  A Wapello County judge ordered a Blairsburg company to pay a $30,000 penalty Monday after the company discharged wastewater from stormwater retention basins last year at its Eddyville solid waste composting facility.

District Court Judge Myron L. Gookin also enjoined Chamness Technology, Inc. from committing future violations.  The order resolves a lawsuit filed Monday by Attorney General Tom Miller.

Chamness Technology, Inc. owns and operates a solid waste composting facility near Eddyville.  The facility includes a 16-acre asphalt pad for processing and active composting of materials including food processing by-products, pre- and post-consumer food scraps, outdated biodegradable agricultural products, industrial bio-solids and biotechnology by-products, non-recyclable paper and cardboard, manure and food processing waste.  The facility also includes three stormwater retention basins with a total capacity of 8.1 million gallons.

Chamness’ solid waste composting permit prohibits the discharge of water from the retention basins.

In 2008, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued an administrative order against Chamness, in part, because of illegal discharges from its retention basins.  In 2010, the DNR issued a second administrative order against Chamness, again in part, because of illegal discharges from the retention basins.  Both orders required Chamness to prevent discharges from the retention basins.  The 2010 order required Chamness to maintain at least two feet of freeboard (the difference in elevation between the liquid level and the basin overflow level) at all times in each of the retention basins and enter into an agreement with a wastewater treatment facility to accept large volumes of wastewater in the event the basins are full and land application is not possible.

In June and July 2010, additional discharges from the retention basins occurred, which are the subject of Miller’s lawsuit.

Chamness admitted the discharges from the retention basins but stated that the basin overflows were unintentional and occurred in connection with significant unanticipated rainfall events.  Chamness further stated that it now co-owns 422 additional acres of land in Monroe and Wapello Counties available for land application of water from the retention basins.

The consent decree approved today resolves all violations alleged in the petition but expressly does not resolve the alleged release of retention pond wastewater from an irrigation hose at the facility occurring on or about November 1, 2010.  The Iowa DNR referred that matter to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).


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