City of Cabool, Mo. files lawsuit against Dairy Farmers of America

Published: Sep. 11, 2019 at 6:42 PM CDT
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The City of Cabool is suing its largest employer, Dairy Farmers of America, saying the company has been illegally discharging waste into the city's wastewater system for months, without pre-treating that wastewater.

The lawsuit filed earlier this month, alleges that DFA, has not been pre-treating waste materials, for the past 18 months, before releasing the waste into the city's wastewater system.

The city says DFA's actions are intentional and willful and are in complete disregard of its operating permit, which requires the plant to pre-treat any waste materials that it discharges into the city's wastewater facility.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources found DFA in violation of its permit back in July following tests.

In the lawsuit, the city says it's spent more than $400,000 so far in emergency services and protective actions and estimates millions more will be needed to correct continuing damage.

The lawsuit goes on to say, the City has had to redirect tax and other City revenues to address the damages to the City’s wastewater treatment systems.

According to DFA's permit with DNR, the company's wastewater passes through a trickling filter, a clarifier, an oxidation ditch, and a final clarifier, before it's discharged to the city's facility.

City officials met with DFA officials on several occasions, telling the company about the untreated waste materials but the city says DFA continued to discharge the waste even after those meetings.

Other times, the lawsuit alleges that Jeff Inman, the plant's Chief Operating Officer, either failed to respond to the city's requests or ignored the city's notices to the company about the illegal discharging.

As the COO of the DFA plant, Jeff Inman is responsible for the overall operations of the plant, including the wastewater unit of the plant.

In a statement to KY3, DFA says in part, "Our local team has been communicating with the city on improvements to our wastewater system, and currently have projects underway. We will continue to work with the city on this matter and look forward to remaining a vital part of Cabool's economy and community."

A judge has issued a temporary restraining order that keeps DFA from discharging untreated waste into the city's wastewater system.

A hearing has been set for next week.

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