Iron Ore Company Fined for Unpermitted Discharges, Dredging in Mo. Stream

An iron ore recovery business has agreed to pay a $138,016 civil penalty to the U.S. to settle a series of alleged violations of the federal Clean Water Act related to unpermitted dredging and discharges of pollutants into a stream in Washington County, Mo.

Upland Wings, Inc., of Sullivan, Mo., agreed to the penalty in an administrative consent agreement and final order placed on public notice today in Kansas City, Kan. The company runs an iron ore recovery operation at the former Pea Ridge mining facility near Sullivan, Mo., according to the filing.

The agreement says that EPA Region 7 inspectors witnessed pollutant discharges from Upland Wings' operations into Mary's Creek in March 2007. Those discharges contained levels of oil and grease, copper, chromium, cadmium, iron, lead and total suspended solids that were in excess of limits set forth in the company's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Mary's Creek flows into water bodies that are listed by the State of Missouri as being impaired because of high concentrations of metals.

Inspectors from EPA Region 7 and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers learned in 2008 that Upland Wings, acting without proper permits, used earth-moving equipment to dredge iron ore tailings from settling ponds at the Sullivan facility and place the material into Mary's Creek and adjacent areas, affecting approximately 18 acres of wetlands.

In January 2009, EPA officials discovered that Upland Wings used earth-moving equipment to channelize about 300 linear feet of Mary's Creek and place the dredged material into adjacent wetlands, also without a permit.

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