MoDOT faces lawsuit after pollution ends in lake

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LAKE OF THE OZARKS - The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission is facing a federal lawsuit because of pollution at the Lake of the Ozarks. 

The Environmental Protection Agency found the Missouri Department of Transportation violated the Clean Water Act on the Highway 54 project near Osage Beach due to improper storm water control. 

Violations included failing to construct basins and controls on drainage channels to prevent the runoff from going into the lake. 

In a press release, a MoDOT engineer admitted more could have been done to prevent the runoff. 

"We take environmental responsibility very seriously at MoDOT and have for many years," Assistant Chief Engineer Kathy Harvey said. "We have performance measures in place to track our compliance of federal and state law, and we are proud of our record. However, in these two extreme rain events five years ago, our policies and procedures failed to contain storm water within the project limits."

MoDOT now faces a $750,000 fine as well as increased training over proper storm water management. 

"We take responsibility and are confident that the additional training and accountability that we will put in place with our employees and our contractor partners will result in heightened awareness of compliance with the Clean Water Act," Harvey said. 

Along with filing the lawsuit Wednesday, the Department of Justice also filed a settlement. The settlement is not final and will go through a 30-day public comment period. Based on those comments, the DOJ will determine if it will ask the court to enter the settlement.