Man charged for contaminating freshwater springs

Thursday, November 4, 2004

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Greene County man was charged Wednesday with dumping 50,000 gallons of a spoiled molasses and rainwater mixture that polluted freshwater springs in southwest Missouri.

Stephen Lindsey, who owns German Septic Tank Service, faces a misdemeanor of violating Missouri's Clean Water Law by unlawfully discharging a water contaminant.

The charge was filed in Greene County Circuit Court by Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon.

Purina Mills Inc. in Springfield hired Lindsay to dispose of the molasses, Nixon said. The plant, which uses molasses as a supplement in animal feed, poured 5,000 gallons of the sticky substance in its stormwater pond after a railroad tanker car heater broke down, threatening to allow the molasses to solidify. The molasses had mixed with some 50,000 gallons of rainwater.

Rather than take the mixture to a water treatment plant, Lindsay took it back to his property and poured it into a sinkhole, Nixon said.

If convicted, Lindsay could be fined up to $25,000 for each day of the violation, and could be sentenced to one year in jail.

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