EPA: Compost has Potential to Contaminate Oklahoma River
By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said compost piles near the Oklahoma River could potentially cause contamination.
The EPA discovered that Murphy Products Incorporated has a composting facility but does not have a compost license. That has raised concern about potential runoff from the large stacks of compost into the nearby Oklahoma River, which is a violation of the federal clean water act. Those concerns have lead to two cease and desist orders.
"We've been working with the EPA on this investigation," said Terry Peach of Oklahoma's agriculture department.
Murphy Products is located in the Oklahoma National Stock Yards and produces aged manure and organic compost. The company's stacks of potential water contaminants tower just 200 feet from the Oklahoma River. They have 30 days to send a plan of action.
"When we were out there we didn't see any runoff into the river, but it is a potential source and that's why we took the action we did," Peach said.
In a statement, Murphy Products President said, "Murphy Products took immediate steps at its own expense including the completion of a physical barrier between its products and surrounding property."
However, neither the EPA nor the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture have received or approved a plan of action.
But until the problem is fixed, Murphy Products is not allowed to take in deliveries or make deliveries from the compost piles. In addition, because Murphy Products is located on the property of the Oklahoma National Stock Yards Company, the stock yards have also been ordered to cease and desist although they are not directly involved.
Potential solutions could include building barriers around the site to prevent runoff, special lagoons could be built, or the runoff could be piped to the sewer system.