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April 23, 2009

State Alleges Water Pollution Violations by Boondocks U.S.A. Truck Stop in North Iowa

Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges truck stop-restaurant-motel facility repeatedly discharged wastewater to a tributary of the Skunk River.

Webster City. The Boondocks U.S.A. Truck Stop at I-35 near Webster City has repeatedly discharged wastewater to a tributary of the Skunk River, according a lawsuit filed by the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. Go to Boondocks U.S.A. lawsuit.

The lawsuit names Welch Oil, Inc., and Boondocks U.S.A., Inc., which operate the large facility that includes a gas and diesel station, convenience store, motel and restaurant. The facility has a two-cell, 647,000-gallon lagoon that provides wastewater treatment.

The suit alleges Boondocks U.S.A. repeatedly and illegally discharged wastewater into a drainage ditch that flows to the Skunk River, according to inspections since at least 2005, despite numerous notices of violation by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

A DNR inspection on February 18, 2009, for example, noted that the lagoon “was continuously discharging wastewater due to a deteriorated and malfunctioning valve;” the lagoon berm was damaged by an overgrowth of trees, woody vegetation and cattails; and Boondocks had failed to submit required monthly wastewater operating reports, failed to monitor the flow of wastewater to and from the lagoon, and failed to measure the depth of the wastewater cells.

The lawsuit also alleged that Boondocks U.S.A. committed numerous violations related to its public drinking water supply, including failure to do required routine sampling for contaminants, and failure to do required follow-up testing after routine samples tested positive for coliform bacteria on several occasions.

DNR enforcement efforts have included numerous inspections and “Notices of Violation,” and two administrative orders with penalties.

Attorney General Tom Miller said: “The DNR has worked for years to get the Boondocks U.S.A. companies to comply with environmental requirements for their wastewater and drinking water supply systems. Our lawsuit asks the District Court to order compliance, prohibit further violations, and assess civil penalties.”

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday at Hamilton County District Court in Webster City.

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