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Civil Complaint and Compliance Order Issued to MagnaGro Corporation of Lawrence, Kan., for Hazardous Waste Issues

Release Date: 10/22/2010
Contact Information: Chris Whitley, 913-551-7394,

Environmental News


(Kansas City, Kan., Oct. 22, 2010) - EPA Region 7 today issued a civil complaint and compliance order to MagnaGro Corporation, of Lawrence, Kan., for allegedly failing to conduct hazardous waste determinations as required by Kansas regulations and the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).

Two employees of the agricultural fertilizer company died of asphyxiation on April 1, 2010, while cleaning a storage tank at its facilities at 600 E. 23rd Street in Lawrence, according to autopsy reports. Subsequently, in June and July, EPA staff conducted a compliance inspection of the facilities, and noted a number of suspected solid and hazardous wastes at the site.

Inspectors issued an official notice of violation and request for information to MagnaGro’s owner, Ray Sawyer, on July 28, but he did not respond. Sawyer likewise did not respond to a September 9 letter of warning and request for information. EPA Region 7 has offered assistance to Sawyer regarding suspected solid and hazardous wastes on the property, but he has not responded to those offers.

The City of Lawrence shut down operations at MagnaGro on July 21, 2010, after Sawyer failed to address a series of city code violations. The Lawrence Fire Department has also issued citations to Sawyer, requiring him to address safety violations before the facility is allowed to reopen.

Today’s complaint and compliance order from EPA requires MagnaGro to act within 30 days to provide EPA with an inventory of all drums, totes and other containers at the facility, along with proper waste determinations. It also requires the company to submit to EPA a written plan for immediately shipping all hazardous waste currently located at the facility to an appropriate disposal facility. The plan must be approved by EPA, with disposal of wastes to be completed within 20 days after that approval.

MagnaGro has the right to request an administrative hearing with EPA within 30 days of today’s order. Failure to provide EPA with a timely response to the order could result in the company being found in default, which would constitute an admission of all facts alleged in the order, and a waiver of rights to a hearing.

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