The Environmental Protection Agency has issued cease and desist orders to two Oklahoma companies for violating the federal Clean Water Act on the Oklahoma River, the agency said.
EPA spokesman Dave Bary said Murphy Products and Oklahoma National Stockyards Co. were cited after inspectors visited a compost facility June 22-23 at Interstates 44 and 40 operated by Murphy Products on land owned by Oklahoma National Stockyards. EPA inspectors found manure piles kept in such a way that runoff could drain into the Oklahoma River, Bary said. "We did not observe any actual discharges,” Bary said. "But our inspectors certainly felt that the potential existed particularly in a heavy rain for water from the manure piles to run directly into the river.” The finding comes after dozens of participants in a May triathlon reported getting sick. City officials have said bacteria levels spike after heavy rains because of runoff. Rob Fisher, president of Oklahoma National Stockyards Co., said Murphy Products had taken precautions to prevent runoff, but heavy rain in May apparently caused some issues. The companies have 30 days to submit a plan to the EPA. In a statement released Tuesday night, Tami Murphy, president of Murphy Products, said Murphy Products took immediate steps at its own expense to address their concerns, including the completion of a physical barrier between its products and surrounding property.