Big Box Retailer to Pay $7.4 Million for Continued Haz Waste Violations

Posted on 12/18/2018 by Roger Marks

Seven years after reaching a $22.5 million settlement for hazardous waste violations, a global retail chain has entered into another settlement with the California Attorney General’s office for the same compliance issues. This time, the bill is $7.4 million.

In this case, regulators in California inspected garbage containers and found electronics, batteries, aerosol cans, CFL bulbs (“lamps”), and used medical syringes improperly disposed of.

As part of the settlement, the retail chain will pay $3.2 million in civil penalties and pay an additional $900,000 in attorney’s fees.

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 In addition to the civil penalty and attorney's fees, the company will spend $3.3 million on supplemental environmental projects (SEPs)—including funding for hazardous waste inspector training. These projects include submitting to annual trash audits for the next three years at twelve of the chain’s locations.

This is not the only case of a California retail store paying dearly for hazardous waste violations. In October, a grocery chain settled the state’s allegations of hazardous waste mismanagement for $1.2 million and took steps to improve its hazardous waste compliance program.

California Hazardous Waste Penalties Rising

In October 2017, the Governor of California signed into law AB 245, a bill to raise the civil penalties for hazardous waste violations—codified in California’s State Health and Safety Code—to $70,000 per day, per violation, nearly triple the old maximum penalty of $25,000.

Under the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), hazardous waste penalties are now as high as $72,718 per day, per violation. EPA also raised its penalty amounts this year and may raise penalties to match inflation again in the coming months.

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