by Alicia Claire Lloyd
New records, dated 11/3/15, obtained through document requests from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) (Worlds of Fun_151103_Anonymous Concern) reveal allegations that employees at Worlds of Fun (WOF) waterpark in Kansas City, Missouri were told to dump hazardous wastes into creeks nearby the facility. A former employee, a mechanic, filed a complaint with MDNR that described oil disposal practices that clearly violate environmental regulations. According to MDNR’s records, the former mechanic alleged that Worlds of Fun employees purposefully discharged oil though several methods directly into the creeks adjacent to the facility and allowed rides to regularly leak substantial amounts of pollutants into the environment without any abatement measures. We find this complaint extremely concerning and hope that MDNR is fully investigating these accusations.
The waterpark has self-reported to the state repeated and significant pollution exceedances that have gone on for at least 5 years (the limit to which we could access records). Through records MCE obtained from MDNR, we discovered that the waterpark has violated its pollution discharge permit for at least five pollutants including chlorine, pH, total suspended solids, oil and grease, and copper.
MCE is now four months into a lawsuit filed against Worlds of Fun waterpark in Kansas City, Missouri. In a letter to Mr. Wayne Meadows, Director of Maintenance & Construction for Worlds of Fun, MDNR confirmed MCE’s allegations in our suit. The letter states, “A review of the facility’s discharge monitoring reports between January 2010 and August 2015 found 109 exceedances, 75 of which were identified as being in significant noncompliance with permitted limitations.” While the corporation argues that it is working on a compliance schedule, its record of negligence and noncompliance warrants swift action.
Questions arise surrounding why the state has not enforced the facility’s permit and allowed egregious permit violations to continue for so long and how to alleviate the long-term aquatic impacts on the Missouri River and its tributaries. The River is the longest in the country. It also serves as the largest source of drinking water for Missourians.
The Missouri Coalition for the Environment’s mission is to protect and restore the environment through education, public engagement, and legal action. Litigation is one tool we use to protect water quality in cases in which the law is violated at the expense of Missouri’s water quality. MCE and its members oppose Worlds of Fun’s negligent pollution discharges into this valuable resource and support enforcement of the Clean Water Act permits that mitigate industrial effects on aquatic habitats and recreational waters.